HC Deb 15 November 1917 vol 99 cc595-6W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that quite recently there was a happy Canadian camp at Shoreham and a happy London command depot at Sea-ford; that there is now a discontented Canadian camp at Seaford and a discontented London command depot at Shoreham; whether he is aware that the Canadians moved to Shoreham three months ago at a cost of nearly £4,000; that the stables at Seaford were converted into drill sheds and are now being reconverted into stables; whether he is aware that Shoreham was a good training centre and Seaford a bad one; and will he state the object of this exchange of troops and the actual cost of the double move?


My hon. Friend is not correct in saying that the Canadians moved to Shoreham three months ago. About two-thirds of Shoreham Camp has been occupied by Canadians since October, 1916. The move has enabled a concentration to be made of Canadian troops on the one hand and of the Command Depot on the other, while previously both were divided between the two places. I am informed that the move has resulted in increased efficiency in Canadian training and administration and in a considerable reduction in administrative staff. I am afraid that I have no details of the cost of the move, but I may say that the reconversion of the stables, which is taking place in certain cases, is facilitated by the fact that the material was kept for the purpose of reconversion. Both Shoreham and Seaford are good training centres.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in the detchment of the 18th Battalion Rifle Brigade, now stationed at Fort Blair, Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal, the average age of the men is forty-five, some of the men being fifty-five; that when they volunteered they never anticipated being sent so far from home for such a long period; and whether, in view of these circumstances and of the fact that the men are beginning to suffer from the climate, arrangements can be made for these men to be exchanged and brought home?


No information to the effect that these men are suffering from the climate has been received. I am afraid that the military situation does not enable me to hold out any hopes of an exchange except in the case of men who are invalided.