HC Deb 13 July 1948 vol 453 cc983-4
6. Mr. A. R. W. Low

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement about the loss of two Churchill tanks in Haifa on 29th June.

Mr. Shinwell

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield (Sir G. Jeffreys) on Tuesday last.

Mr. Low

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last Tuesday he expressly reserved the question of the conduct of the two sentries there, and since then an allegation has been made that they were suborned and deserted? In these circumstances, will he not do all he can to clear up the position as quickly as possible?

Mr. Shinwell

I have made very careful inquiries about where they are, but so far I cannot get any information.

General Sir George Jeffreys

Has the usual court of inquiry into the loss of or damage to equipment been held and, if so, what was the result?

Mr. Shinwell

If there are inquiries, and I have a report, I shall know a little more about it.

Earl Winterton

Would the right hon. Gentleman find out whether there is any truth in the statement, which has been widely made, that these two tanks and their drivers now form part of the Israelite Army?

Mr. Shinwell

It is alleged that they were taken into possession by members of the Israelite Army, but I have no other information.