HC Deb 14 November 1939 vol 353 cc520-1
42. Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in the Berkshire Yeomanry, Royal Artillery, while some men have been given beds and underclothing, others who joined voluntarily are still sleeping on the ground and without greatcoats and underclothing; and if he will inquire into the matter?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I will read to my hon. and gallant Friend the report I have received from the Command: Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services, Division, telephones he has seen Officer Commanding, Berkshire Yeomanry, to-day who states he has been done so well by Ordnance that he has no complaint of any sort. Has got everything including greatcoats, underclothing, double bunk beds, and is very pleased and satisfied. No men are sleeping on bare floor. Each man has got palliasse and four blankets. Officer Commanding cannot understand question.

Mr. Shinwell

Is this the sort of question that is inspired from German sources?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I did not say that any question was inspired by German sources, but the hon. Gentleman and the House and the country will recognise how true these suggestions are.

Mr. Lunn

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that thousands of men in the Army in this country have not got greatcoats?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I do not think there should be any man in the British Army without a greatcoat. [HON. MEMBERS: "But are there any?"] There should not be, because adequate provision is made. I have heard on the German wireless that there are thousands of men without greatcoats, but it is not a fact. If a man has not a military overcoat, he can either be paid an allowance for the use of his own, or his unit can provide him with a civilian overcoat, and, in any event, the shortage is being rapidly overtaken.