HC Deb 11 December 1945 vol 417 cc198-201
42. Mr. W. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in six weeks preceding the 22nd November, no releases under Python or L.I.A.P. had been effected; that in that period not a single boat had left Rangoon with release men and that the catering arrangements in Camp No. 5 F.A.R.H.U. are inadequate and unsatisfactory and have resulted in an outbreak of dysentery in the camp; and what steps is he taking to remedy these conditions.

15. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state the reason for the withdrawal of the troopships "Alcantara" and "Llangibby Castle" at Rangoon, with the resultant disappointment to British troops and to their families at home, who were relying on the pledge that they would be repatriated by Christmas.

29. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that at the end of November there were still many men belonging to release Group 23 who were held up at transit camps in and near Rangoon awaiting passage home; and what steps are being taken to speed up the repatriation of Army personnel from Burma.

44. Captain Chetwynd

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware of the unsatisfactory conditions of the repatriation camp in Rangoon, particularly in regard to food and water supplies; and if he will take steps to see that personnel awaiting transport are given as-good conditions as possible.

110. Wing-Commander Roland Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction among the men in No. 5 F.A.R.H.U. Camp, Rangoon, owing to the continued delays in their repatriation; and whether he will arrange for these men to return home as speedily as possible.

Mr. Lawson

As the answer deals mainly with points of detail, I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report. But, as regards repatriation from Burma in general, I have no reason to think that any substantial number of men will be delayed beyond their due date, or that, even in cases where delay does occur, it will be for more than a few days.

Mr. Medland

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that up to four days ago no boat had called at Rangoon, and will he fly these men home for Christmas?

Mr. Lawson

I do not understand the trouble about Rangoon at all. I have made special inquiries and I am hoping, according to the replies I have had from the Transport Department, that these men will be home in time according to the number of their group.

Mr. W. Williams

Will my right hon. Friend say whether, in the course of his inquiries, it has been confirmed or otherwise that no boat has left Rangoon for six weeks? That is the main point of our Questions.

Mr. Lawson

I have made inquiries upon this point and I am assured that these men will be home in time according to the group number.

Mr. Driberg

Could my right hon. Friend say whether as much transport aircraft has been used, proportionately, for flying home these men from Burma as for the men in India Command?

Mr. Lawson

From the answer that is being circulated, I understand that a ship left on 2nd December.

Mr. Driberg

Could my right hon. Friend answer the question which I have just put? Are as many transport aircraft used for the men in Burma as for the men in India Command, proportionately?

Mr. Lawson

I understand that they get their share of transport by air. They are sent to India for that purpose.

Following is the answer:

The "Alcantara" was suggested but was too big for this service and other shipping was provided. The "Llangibby Castle" was slightly delayed owing to essential repairs but sailed from Rangoon to the United Kingdom on 2nd December, less than a week after the due date. To offset any delay caused to men in early release groups, that ship was ordered to put in at Madras to take off any men who wished to travel the rest of the way by air. Subject to weather, men in Group 23 who travel by air should arrive home within the prescribed period for release and even the remainder will not be more than a few days late.

I have made no specific promise that troops would arrive home for Christmas, though I hope many will do so. The statements as to progress and plans have referred to the end of the year. In the six weeks ended 22nd November, three ships left Rangoon for the United Kingdom bringing over 5,400 men, apart from any men leaving for home via India. I had already called for a report on the conditions in the repatriation camp in Rangoon, in connection with a previous complaint. On receipt of this report I will arrange for such remedies as appear to be necessary.