HC Deb 29 January 1941 vol 368 cc556-7
40. Mr. Leach

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that a number of men in His Majesty's Ship "Colombo" have been deprived of shore leave for refusing inoculation; and whether, in view of the fact that the reports on the health of the Navy disclose the occurrence of a considerable number of cases of typhoid fever in inoculated men, he will follow the precedent set by the Admiralty in the last war when similar cases of deprivation of leave occurred, and permit objectors to inoculation to have leave in the same way that inoculated men are allowed it?

Sir V. Warrender

Men who have declined inoculation against a particular disease are by Admiralty order precluded from receiving shore leave at places where that disease is liable to be contracted. This is a precautionary, not a punitive, measure, and in other places no restriction is placed on leave. I am aware that a number of men in His Majesty's Ship "Colombo" have refused inoculation and have, therefore, been refused shore leave at various places. The rule mentioned above was introduced in 1916. I can find no instance of any exception to it. After careful consideration, I do not feel able to authorise any exception now, in view of the importance of taking every precaution to prevent the introduction of disease on board one of His Majesty's ships, especially in war time.

Mr. Leach

Is there any compensatory leave for these men who have been deprived of leave under this mistaken order?

Sir V. Warrender

This is only a question of men going ashore from their ships. If it is possible for them to go ashore within certain precincts, where they cannot get in contact with any disease prevalent in the port, leave is given, as, for instance, to go to a canteen.

Sir F. Fremantle

Is it not recognised that this is in the interests of the individual, as well as of the public service?

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