HC Deb 03 December 1947 vol 445 cc356-7
3. Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the propaganda drawing handed out on H.M.S. "Triumph," showing a fat sailor and a starving civilian together with charts of the sailor's rations compared with those of the civilian's; and whether, in view of the implied suggestion that Service families and other civilians are being half starved to maintain excessive Service rations, he will discontinue this form of propaganda.

Mr. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. H.M.S. "Triumph" is serving on the Mediterranean Station and the issue of the drawing was the sequel to a talk given to the ship's company on the results of the economic crisis, and on the consequential necessity for strict economy in the use of rationed foodstuffs. No letterpress was issued with the drawing and it is evident from subsequent inquiries that the ship's company took the drawing in the way it was intended and not as reflecting any increase in the comparative stringency in the United Kingdom. I am unable to accept the suggestion that the issue of this drawing constituted propaganda of the type described by the hon. Member.

Sir J. Lucas

Is my hon. Friend aware that I have had many letters from Portsmouth complaining about it, and, allowing for lack of opportunity for getting unrationed food, will he bear in mind the fact that members of the Service do not like to feel that they are getting an unfair advantage while their families suffer hardship?

Mr. Dugdale

They are not getting an unfair advantage. The fact remains that they are getting somewhat better rations, and it is necessary that they should, in consequence, save everything possible.

Earl Winterton

Can the hon. Gentleman say who gave the lecture?

Mr. Dugdale

It was given by a Service officer on board ship.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Can the Minister explain why the extremely corpulent naval rating shown in this drawing, who had obviously been engaged in consuming his shipmates' rations, should be wearing three good conduct badges?

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Would the hon. Gentleman take steps to stop this kind of lecture as being quite irrelevant?

Mr. Dugdale

It is perfectly correct that a lecture has been given, and I have taken no exception to it, and I have no intention of stopping it.