HC Deb 07 July 1919 vol 117 cc1416-7W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there are four high-power wireless stations in Baghdad; whether wireless stations in Mesopotamia are still being used for intercept working only and that the messages received do not average two per day; whether he will state the number of wireless stations which have been closed in Mesopotamia since the end of 1918; whether wireless operators have been without furlough for long periods on the ground that they cannot be spared; whether leave to India is only being granted to those who have families in India; whether other men are being sent to a place named Kermanshah, in Persia, a place which is reached by rail to Quizzle Robat and thence by motor lorry in about four days; and whether, in view of the dissatisfaction with regard to furlough and in the interests of national economy, he will endeavour to reduce the stations and personnel to the actual requirements of the work?


With regard to the first part of my hon. Friend's question, I do not think it is desirable to give the information asked for. With regard to the rest of the question, I have no doubt that the military authorities are making the best arrangements they can in the public interest, but I regret that I am unable to say, without reference to Mesopotamia, what the practice is as regards leave for wireless operators. I hope, however, that the conditions will improve under the new measures which are being taken for the relief of troops in the Far East.

Major GLYN

asked the Secretary of State for War why it has been decided to construct a narrow-gauge railway between Baiji and Mosul, since a normal gauge line has been laid from the base to Baiji and the original railway designed by the Germans has been completed in most sections north and north-west of Mosul; whether there is any shortage of rails to prevent this standard gauge extension; and, if so, will steps be taken at once to send the rails, etc., to carry out the scheme as originally decided upon by the military authorities and to use the narrow-gauge track for feeding spurs and branches to the main line?


The urgent need for standard-gauge railway material and equipment elsewhere than in Mesopotamia—in this country, for example— is such that it is considered inadvisable to extend the standard-gauge railway from Baiji to Mosul. The narrow-gauge line authorised can be constructed more speedily, and will suffice for immediate needs.