§ 12. Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the reopening of the sergeants mess at midnight, and the consequent drunkenness there, at the camp in Hampshire, referred to in a case which was tried in the Winchester Assizes last July; what inquiry has been held in respect of the position; and what steps have been taken to avoid a recurrence of such incidents.
§ Mr. Soames
An inquiry was held by the commanding officer last August. As a result, two sergeants were posted away 1198 from the unit; one of them was reduced in rank.
§ Mr. Janner
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many parents are very deeply disturbed about this incident, among others—an incident in which there was a drunken orgy and a girl aged 16 was badly beaten up? What steps is the right hon. Gentleman taking to ensure that this kind of thing shall not occur anywhere else? Is he aware that it is extremely serious from the point of view of young people going into National Service?
§ Mr. Soames
I do not want to underestimate what happened here. It was a breach of discipline, and disciplinary action has been taken. At the same time, I should not like to exaggerate it. The total takings in the sergeants' mess that night were £3 10s., so I do not think it was a drunken orgy.