HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 cc2076-7
43 Mr. Sloan

asked the Secretary of State for War (I) whether he is aware that highly skilled tradesmen of the R.E.M.E workshop company at a place, of which he has been informed, are asked to spend a large portion of their time in spit and polish and consequent negligence of the skilled craftmanship they thought they were engaged to perform; and if he will take steps to alter this;

(2) whether he is aware that, when a company of the R.E.M.E. arrived at a certain place, they were ordered to parade in battle order, with all equipment blancoed and brasses polished for inspection that, after standing in the rain for over an hour, the colonel decided to cancel his inspection till a later date; and what steps he is taking to prevent such occurrences in future;

(3) whether he is aware that skilled artisans of a R.E.M.E. Company paraded before the colonel on a Monday morning in their second-best uniform; were told to return and put on their best uniform; that they were then detailed to get all vehicles ready for the brigadier's inspection on Tuesday; that they worked till 9.30 in the evening, using gallons of petrol and diesel oil for the purpose; and if he will take steps to prevent the use of skilled mechanics for this sort of work?

Sir J. Grigg

Army Commanders are responsible for ensuring that the uniform and equipment of those under their command are maintained at the highest standard of cleanliness and smartness compatible with the conditions in which they are engaged. Inquiries are being made into the other questions referred to.

Mr. Sloan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is evidence of these things taking place, and that many of these things are true, and will he ascertain the facts?

Sir J. Grigg

I said that I was going to make inquiries into the other questions referred to, but I cannot be taken in the least as accepting the hon. Member's assertions as having been necessarily established.