§ 1. Mr. Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for War why National Service men in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers camp, Palace Barracks, Holywood, County Down, are not allowed fires in their billets; why the central heating system is switched on only intermittently; and how many complaints have been made by the men in the last twelve months.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Julian Amery)
Fires are not used because the barrack rooms are centrally heated. The heating is switched off in the interests of economy during working hours when soldiers are out. A new boiler was installed last year, but this did not at first work satisfactorily. Ten complaints were received early in the winter. The faults were corrected and coal and logs were issued while this was being done.
§ Mr. Chapman
How does the Under-Secretary of State account for the fact: that, as late as 24th March this year, the: men were complaining that the boiler installed a year ago was still not working? Is not this the kind of thing that will make recruiting for the Regular Army impossible unless it is corrected?
§ 2. Mr. Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that National Service men in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers camp, Palace Barracks, Holywood, County Down, have only two baths for fifty-five men, a set of showers with only three working, are allowed hot water for baths only twice per week and have to miss a bath if on guard duty; and whether he will make a statement on the conditions at this camp.
§ Mr. J. Amery
There are three baths and eight showers to cater for about fifty men. All are in working order. There has been hot water for baths only twice a week because of the need for fuel economy, but it is available after guard dismounting for men who have been on 939 guard. This camp consists of wooden huts and I am informed that conditions are generally satisfactory.
§ Mr. Chapman
Why is it that something happened between the Member of Parliament putting down a Question and the Minister giving an answer? Is it not the case that there were only two showers working and that only two have been working for some time? Why does not the hon. Gentleman really have facts like this checked so that men can be encouraged to go into the Army?
§ Mr. McKibbin
Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that Palace Barracks is very modern and up-to-date and is situated in very pleasant surroundings where the people are very hospitable and well-disposed towards the troops? I have never heard one Service man, National or otherwise, who was not pleased to be stationed there.