HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 cc364-5
37. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Servicemen in best battledress and polished brass were in the background of the picture for photographers and movie cameras on Tuesday, 21st January when he started the demolition of the 200-years-old barrack blocks at the Royal Artillery Depot, Woolwich; how many men were detailed off to attend and cheer for the photographs; how many voluntarily attended; and what were the objectives in having the men marched into position behind him.

Mr. Soames

The beginning of work to pull down the old barracks of Woolwich as a preliminary to new building was marked by a small ceremony on 21st January. The Commandant, thirty soldiers and myself were on parade and there were groups of voluntary spectators.

Mr. Dodds

If all this "bull" were to publicise the riddance of some very ancient barracks, why does not the right hon. Gentleman display on his countenance a heavenly smile and say, "Thanks for the further publicity"? Does he not appreciate that while he and the Commandant probably enjoyed the ceremony, it was not enjoyed by most of the men who took part in it? Would he therefore not reserve such jollification until the new-type barracks are built, when the men can enjoy it?

Mr. Soames

I am very anxious to get on with the building of the barracks but it is also important from the recruiting point of view that it be seen that we are getting on with it.