HC Deb 05 June 1956 vol 553 cc854-5
13. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for War what duties have been assigned to the 1st Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment in Cyprus; and how many casualties this unit has so far suffered.

Mr. Head

This battalion has been employed on normal internal security duties, which consist of patrolling, cordoning and searching areas, guard, escort duties, etc. Since it went to Cyprus on 18th January, one soldier has died of wounds and seven have been wounded.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a very natural anxiety among the relatives of many of these men? Is he satisfied that there is nothing further he can do to get prompt and full information about their safety, the conditions under which they are serving and the job they are doing? Secondly, would the Minister like to make some comment about how these troops, officers and men, are carrying out the exacting and sometimes unpleasant duties with which they are now faced in Cyprus?

Mr. Head

I think that the general system of command control, intelligence and operations policy in Cyprus is such that it gives all the regiments who have this difficult and dangerous task the best possible chance of doing it with a minimum of casualties. I have been there, and I know that the hon. Member has also visited the island, and I indeed was full of admiration both for the moderation with which these duties were carried out and the high morale of all the troops.