HC Deb 26 October 1916 vol 86 cc1356-7W

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that soldiers who were sent out to Mesopotamia in May last, and whose relatives have written to them every week, have only received two letters and no parcels; and whether he can hold out any hope of an improvement in the postal service in the field in Mesopotamia?


The Secretary of State for India greatly regrets the delays in the transmission of letters and packets to the troops in Mesopotamia to which the hon. Member refers. The matter is engaging the attention of the Government of India, who have deputed a highly competent officer of the Indian Postal Service to investigate on the spot the position of the post office field service beyond Basra and effect improvements.


asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that in July last urgent appeals for help were sent to Calcutta from individuals at Wellington and other smaller stations at Nilgiri Hills on behalf of the wounded and sick soldiers arriving there in large numbers, and for whom no provision had been made; is he aware of the hardships and privations undergone by the wounded and sick from Mesopotamia at that date, that the early arrivals found no mattresses or pillows on their iron beds, that all they had to lie on was coir, that although it was cold the men had very few blankets between them, that they were drinking out of empty cigarette tins and empty condensed milk tins, that the supply of drugs was hopelessly inadequate, causing much suffering among the patients; will he say what is the situation to-day; and whether the officers and officials responsible for this condition of affairs last July are still in the employ of the Indian Government?


I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the question asked on 17th October by the hon. and gallant Member for Plymouth.