HC Deb 17 February 1948 vol 447 cc977-8
28. Mr. Price-White

asked the Secretary of State for War if Groups 65 and 66, all arms, and Groups 66 to 72, other specified arms, have now left Nairobi Transit Camp for demobilisation in the United Kingdom; how long have such groups been awaiting repatriation from that camp; on how many occasions the arrival of H.M.T. "Ascanius" in East Africa to embark such groups has been delayed; and what were the reasons for such delays.

Mr. Shinwell

The information asked for in the first two parts of the Question is not available in the War Office. My Department was informed by the Command concerned on 9th January that the repatriation of men due for release in Age and Service Groups 66 and 67 in certain arms would be held up owing to the delay of H.M.T. "Ascanius." Those affected by the delay are due to arrive in this country on 10th February. I understand that H.M.T. "Ascanius" was delayed by repairs at Durban, taking longer than had been anticipated.

Mr. Price-White

Is the Minister aware that this is not the first time there has been a delay in the arrival of transport at East Africa Command? Is he aware that this has been happening over the past two years, that it has caused considerable dissatisfaction and has accentuated the manpower problem in that command? Will he look into the matter a little more closely?

Mr. Shinwell

I am very much concerned about the transport position, and I inquired into the matter quite recently, visiting some of the transports to find out the cause of the trouble, which is partly due to the difficulties in effecting repairs in foreign seaports, and partly due to the shortage of ships. We are doing all we can to expedite the movements.