HC Deb 24 March 1942 vol 378 cc1782-3
3. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the report by Major-General Gordon Bennett to the effect that in Malaya British commanders on the spot lacked the power to act as conditions dictated and had to apply for permission to the War Office; and whether he has taken steps to prevent this in future?

Mr. Sandys

I assume that my hon. Friend refers to the reports of a speech by Major-General Gordon Bennett which have recently appeared in the Press. I do not propose to comment on this officer's remarks pending the receipt of the full official report which he has been asked to render.

11. Mr. Cocks

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he will call for reports on the situation in Singapore, up to the time of the capitulation, from Lieut.-Colonel Cumming, V.C., Indian Army, and Sergeant Richard Carey, R.A., now in Ceylon?

Mr. Sandys

General Wavell has already been asked to have information collected from officers and other ranks who have escaped from Singapore and to send this information as soon as possible to the War Office.

Mr. Cocks

Will that information be obtained from this colonel and this sergeant?

Mr. Sandys

It will be obtained from all available officers and other ranks who have escaped from Singapore.

Mr. Sorensen

Is any attempt being made to obtain information from civilians who have reached this country from Singapore and Malaya?

Mr. Sandys

That question should be addressed to the Colonial Office.

Mr. Stokes

Can the hon. Gentleman give us some indication of how long it will take to get this report? There has been an inordinate lapse of time.

Mr. Sandys

It has been asked for as quickly as possible.

Mr. Granville

Does the reply mean that the War Office is conducting operations in India and Burma without any real knowledge of what actually happened in Malaya?

Mr. Sandys

No, Sir.