HC Deb 30 January 1951 vol 483 cc694-5
6. Mr. Turton

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he is taking to secure that the 29th Infantry Brigade, fighting in Korea, has adequate medical supplies.

Mr. Strachey

The brigade sailed with its full scale of medical equipment and two months' maintenance stocks. In addition, No. 29 General Hospital, established in Japan, was provided with two months' maintenance stocks for the British forces in Korea as well as two months' stocks for its own maintenance. A further four months' maintenance stocks for the whole force in Korea and Japan were despatched to No. 29 General Hospital early in December and will now be arriving. Further medical maintenance of the force will be taken over by Far East Land Forces.

Mr. Turton

Why were units of this brigade sent up to the forward area without proper medical supplies, so that early in December, when the troops were suffering from severe wintry conditions, no supplies were available for the treatment of pleurisy, bronchial diseases or frost-bite?

Mr. Strachey

My information does not confirm that statement, but if the hon. Member will let me have particulars I will look into them.

25. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the British troops in Korea are organised as one formation under a British commander; whether there is a balance of the different arms; and whether the force is self-contained with its own supply and technical services.

Mr. Strachey

The British troops in Korea are not organised as one formation. The 29th Brigade is a self-contained fully balanced force with its own supply and technical services. The 27th Brigade requires certain tank, engineer and administrative assistance, which is provided by the United States forces.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Would it not be far better if the British Forces were under one command, organised in one formation, and is it not detrimental to efficiency that they should be dependent on the supply services of another nation? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider this matter afresh, as it is one of very great importance to the troops?

Mr. Strachey

Certainly we will consider it, but the hon. and gallant Member knows how this has arisen. The force sent from this country specially for the purpose is, as I have said, a self-contained force. The other force came from Hong Kong at the urgent request of the United Nations Supreme Commander and consist of two infantry battalions.