HC Deb 27 November 1956 vol 561 cc198-200
3. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War what casualties have been suffered by National Service men from Aberdeen in Cyprus and the Middle East during 1956; and what was in each case the nature of the casualty.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Hare)

Two National Service soldiers, whose next-of-kin live in Aberdeen, have died. Three have been injured during operations against terrorists in Cyprus this year. One of these suffered head injuries and the rest sustained burns in the forest fire of last June. Elsewhere in the Middle East no National Service men from Aberdeen were casualties.

Mr. Hughes

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are the injuries of these gallant men, where they are now and how many of them have been sent home?

Mr. Hare

I will certainly let the hon. and learned Gentleman have those details if he so desires.

8. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Scottish soldiers and National Service men are now serving in Cyprus and the Middle East; and if he will state where they are.

Mr. Hare

This information is not readily available.

Mr. Hughes

What is the youngest age at which National Service men are sent abroad, and how long are they expected to serve in a theatre of war?

Mr. Speaker

That seems quite a different question.

12. Mr. Remnant

asked the Secretary of State for War how long a soldier is required to serve in Cyprus before being allowed leave outside that island.

Mr. Hare

I assume that my hon. Friend refers to the scheme by which married Regular soldiers, whose families have had to remain in this country because of the emergency in Cyprus, may be allowed free travel to the United Kingdom. Among other conditions, they must have been overseas apart from their families for at least nine months.

Mr. Remnant

Can my right hon. Friend deny that a soldier who went to Cyprus at the beginning of October has been told he can come home for Christmas leave if he pays his own fare? Will my right hon. Friend examine that case, because it seems quite wrong that a man's leave should depend on his parents' ability to pay his fare?

Mr. Hare

Naturally, I will look at the case if my hon. Friend will send the details of it to me, but, of course, this is a privilege which applies only to married men. It does not apply to single men. That may be the answer to my hon. Friend's question.

Mr. Hastings

Is it correct that soldiers in Cyprus who have fulfilled all the conditions and are granted Christmas leave are asked to pay £57 for the cost of transport to England and back again?

Mr. Hare

The situation is this. The normal rule for men serving overseas is that they should take their leave locally. Exceptions are the married soldiers, as I have just told the House. Naturally, there are also the compassionate cases, for whom a payment of passage is given. For the unmarried soldiers the normal thing is that they should have their leave within Cyprus, for which special facilities are given. In cases where men are prepared to pay a reduced fare home, they may, with the permission of their commanding officer, do so.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the right hon. Gentleman not look at this matter again? I think hon. Members on both sides of the House would regard it as frightfully mean that young men who are asked to serve in Cyprus should be asked to pay their own fares home. Will the right hon. Gentleman not look at the matter again in order to meet what is, I am sure, the desire of the whole House?

Mr. Hare

We must be fair. This is a concession on the general rule which applies to overseas stations. I will certainly look at what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but I think the answer is probably going to be in the negative.

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