HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc199-200
41. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement on the recent protests against demobilisation delays by N.C.O.s and other soldiers serving in the Tel el Kebir garrison and elsewhere in the Middle East; whether disturbances occurred; and what action has Sheen taken.

Mr. Bellenger

Protests took place at four stations in Middle East Command. They took the form of men absenting themselves from duty in order to attend meetings. There were no disturbances. Certain arrests were made. I am not in a position to give further information, but am awaiting a final report from Headquarters, M.E.L.F.

Mr. Driberg

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the protests had anything to do with the extraordinary mistake in General Dempsey's recent order, in which it was stated that everybody who had served for more than three years would be out by the end of next year?

Mr. Bellenger

No, Sir. I am inclined to think the men protested at the slowing down of the rate of demobilisation.

Mr. Gallacher

Has the Minister anything to say in regard to the matter men- tioned in Question No. 99 on the Order Paper about infantry with Bren-gun carriers and armoured cars being used?