§ 32. Mr. Wakefield
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will issue instructions that prisoners of war when transported in the same ship as British troops will not be given accommodation and comforts denied to British troops, as in the case of which he has been informed, when mattresses already issued to British troops for the voyage were taken from them and given to Italian prisoners of war, while British troops had to sleep without mattresses on the bare boards of decks inferior to those occupied by the Italian prisoners of war?
§ Sir E. Grigg
I think this is a matter that can best be left to the discretion of the officer commanding troops, in conjunction with the master of the ship concerned, but I can assure my hon. Friend that prisoners of war are not provided with a class of accommodation higher than that provided for British troops of equivalent ranks. In the case to which my hon. Friend refers, there was no question of British troops having had to sleep without mattresses on the bare boards of decks. The troops in question were simply moved temporarily from the upper deck to their normal hammock accommodation, so that the Italian prisoners of war could be segregated on the upper deck for the five days during which they were on board.
§ Mr. Wakefield
Is my hon. Friend aware that I have spoken to soldiers who slept on the bare boards because their mattresses had been taken away and given to Italian prisoners of war?
§ Sir E. Grigg
If my hon. Friend will give me particulars, I will inquire again. I have given him the information that I have.