§ 52. Mr. E. Thurtle
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that an announcement has been made to some 150 men of the S.P. Company of the Royal Sussex Regiment, at present serving in the Middle East, and due to return home in July, that they are to remain at this station for another six months; and if, as this decision applies only to this particular unit, and in consequence has aroused disappointment and a sense of unfairness, the decision to prolong the unit's stay in the Middle East will be reconsidered.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison)
The overseas tour for infantry battalions has only recently been fixed at approximately three years. When this policy was announced in November, 1951, it was made clear that operational needs, shipping difficulties and other reasons might result in the exact three-year period being exceeded. This battalion is returning home at about the end of this year after three and a half years overseas. In consequence, certain men who are being retained with the unit to keep it operational will have completed not more than three years six months overseas. It has, unfortunately, been necessary to take similar action in the case of one other battalion in the Middle East.