HC Deb 12 October 1943 vol 392 cc694-5
33. Major Sir Adrian Baillie

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the British troops in North Africa are suffering from deficiency of wireless sets, sports equipment and indoor games, including darts and playing cards, hostel facilities and entertainment, such as cinemas and vaudeville shows; and whether he can give an assurance that these defects are being remedied?

Sir J. Griģģ

Yes, Sir. I am alive to the needs of the troops for these facilities for recreation and entertainment. Much has been done to meet them, but I am aware that there are still deficiencies. My hon. and gallant Friend no doubt appreciates the difficulties involved in view of the shortage of materials, labour and shipping, but I can assure him that earnest efforts are being made to overcome them.

Sir A. Baillie

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the B.B.C. has for a long time been preparing admirable programmes for the troops in North Africa, and what is the use of this extra work if, as was the case up to the end of July, there were no wireless sets available for the troops and it was impossible to buy them in North Africa?

Sir J. Griģģ

I do not think the hon. and gallant Member is accurate in saying that there were no sets in North Africa. Over 1,000 sets have been sent there.

Sir H. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a fund with which I am connected would be delighted to send out some thousands of playing cards if the President of the Board of Trade would only grant a licence?

Mr. Astor

Is it the policy of the Army welfare authorities to provide the troops a standard of amenities comparable with those supplied to the American troops by the American Red Cross?

Sir J. Griģģ

It is no good talking about policy. The question which is at issue is capacity.