§ 41 Mr. RENDALL
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) 1457 whether the 22nd Cheshire Regiment (4th Reserve Battalion. Territorial Force, was sent from Oswestry to Kinmel because there was a proposal that German prisoners should occupy their hutments at Oswestry; why the battalion was moved before a definite decision to use such hutments for prisoners was made; whether such hutments have been occupied since the battalion left; (2) whether the 4th Reserve Battalion Cheshire Regiment, Territorial Force, have recently gone into billets at Whitstable because their canvas camp has been in an exposed place and has been blown down; whether this involves the expenditure of large sums for billeting money; whether there are no public buildings suitable for training in bad weather; why this Reserve battalion cannot be placed at Kinmel, where there are plenty of empty hutments, etc.; (3) whether the 4th Reserve Battalion, Territorial Force, of the Cheshire Regiment, having been first moved from Oswestry to Kinmel, were in July, for no ostensible reason, moved to Tankerton Camp, Whitstable, and put under canvas; and whether he will explain why this course was adopted, as the cost of transporting recruits from Cheshire to Whitstable is at least three times that of taking them to Kinmel, and the cost of home warrants to the country similarly great, as well as the cost of men joining up from Lancashire and Cheshire hospitals and command depots?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The battalion referred to was moved in accordance with the measures necessary for the defence of the country. The camp at Tankerton was blown down under exceptional climatic conditions, and the battalion was placed in winter quarters a few days in anticipation of the normal moves of troops which had been arranged. The accommodation at Kinmel has already been allotted, and is not available.
As regards question No. 41, my hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. The hutments at Oswestry occupied by the battalion had been allotted previously for prisoners of war, and a certain amount of barbed wire had been put up in order to make the camp suitable for their reception at any time. The hutments were occupied by prisoners of war as soon as the special arrangements necessary were completed, and have since been continuously occupied by them.