HC Deb 06 February 1940 vol 357 cc9-10
19. Mrs. Tate

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that there is a 12-hours interval between the evening and morning meals given to troops in France, and that in many instances this has caused discomfort; and whether he can arrange either for the evening meal to be later or for a hot drink of tea or cocoa to be given three hours after the evening meal so as to shorten the period between the evening and morning meals?

Sir V. Warrender

The Field Service ration is intended to be sufficient to cover three substantial meals a day, with a hot drink in the evening. The hour of the last meal is usually arranged in accordance with the particular situation of a unit and in accordance with the general desire of the men. If the hon. Lady cares to send me particulars of any of the cases she has in mind, I will have inquiries made.

Mrs. Tate

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are general complaints that there is not always a hot drink last thing at night? If I bring cases to his notice will he inquire into them?

Sir V. Warrender

I will certainly inquire into them.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Surely you do not want to wake up soldiers in the middle of the night in order to give them a bottle?

Miss Wilkinson

Is it not a fact that the complaint is general that the last meal the soldier can have is quite early in the evening, and that he gets nothing further till the morning? That is particularly the case at home as well as in France. Cannot some arrangement be made to give meals to these men?

Sir V. Warrender

This Question relates to conditions in the British Expeditionary Force. I do not know whether it is possible to provide a meal late at night in all cases, but I am perfectly willing to look into any specific case brought to my notice.