HC Deb 02 December 1959 vol 614 cc1163-4
17. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War for how long Gilgil Camp, Kenya, has been in use; which units have been stationed there; for how long in each case; at approximately what date, and at whose charge, the improvements costing £75,000 were put in hand; why they were not undertaken sooner; why the permanent accommodation at Kahawa is not to be ready before 1961; and how much longer the unit at present at Gilgil will have to stay there.

Mr. H. Fraser

As this Question is in fact seven questions the Answer must be long and I will, with permission circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Driberg

Can the hon. Gentleman at least say whether the recent Press report is correct—it was confirmed in part by a constituent of my own—which stated that a local brewery had provided a dozen tin baths for this camp which were lacking up to then? Was the cost of those baths included in the figure of £75,000? Why should troops have to live on the charity of a brewery?

Mr. Fraser

That is the only question which the hon. Member did not put on the Order Paper. My right hon. Friend dealt with the comment in, I think it was, the Daily Express last week, and he corrected certain errors which did there appertain. Regarding tin baths, the main point is that the unit is fairly well equipped with showers. As the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, and as hon. Members will well know, in that climate a shower is a more convenient method of washing than a bath.

Mr. Driberg

Can the hon. Gentleman say when the showers were installed? Will he look again at my Question on the Order Paper, multiform as it is, when he will find that I did ask on whose charge this expense had been incurred?

Mr. Fraser

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will await my Written Answer.

Following are the answers. They concerned Gilgil G.1 Camp, which is one of four in the district:

  1. (i) Apart from war-time use the camp was not occupied until July, 1958.
  2. (ii) and (iii) The 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards have been there since July this year. They were preceded by the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Regiment who were the first unit in the camp.
  3. (iv) Works services costing £75,000 were begun in two phases, £50,000 in December, 1958, and £25,000 in August, 1959. These charges are borne by Army votes.
  4. (v) Before then, £10,000 had been spent on services to prepare the camp for reoccupation in July, 1958. The main improvements were begun as soon as plans had been prepared and approved.
  5. (vi) Tenders were sent out in February this year and the contractor took over the site in October. The target date for completion, early in 1961 is reasonable for a large project overseas.
  6. (vii) The battalion now in Gilgil G.1. will be moved to Kahawa when the new buildings there are ready.

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