HC Deb 05 June 1919 vol 116 cc2246-7W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether during April last a strike of civilian telegraphists took place in Egypt; whether military telegraphists who had been sent to the demobilisation camp at Kantara were recalled in order to take the places of strikers; and whether he will have immediate inquiries made with a view to preventing the military forces being used for strikebreaking purposes and to secure the immediate demobilisation of the men who have served in Egypt for three and four years without leave?


A Report on this question has been called for, and I will communicate with the hon. Member later.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that soldiers' councils have been instituted among the troops in Egypt; that at Kantara such bodies decide what guards and fatigues are necessary; that the Ordnance Corps at Cairo struck on the 12th instant and an ammunition dump was fired that evening; is he aware that a mass meeting of the troops was held on the 13th May in Cairo to protest against the compulsory retention of men who volunteered for military service; that a general strike of the men serving in Egypt is threatened; and will he do his utmost to allay the unrest by speeding up demobilisation?


asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware of the feeling in Egypt among the men who enlisted in 1914 and 1915 at their retention in the Army; whether representations have been made to him on the subject by General Allenby; whether meetings of protest have been held in Egypt; whether he has been able to give a specific guarantee on the subject; and, if not, what action he proposes to take?


I am aware that there has been a certain amount of unrest in Egypt regarding demobilisation, and I am calling for a report as to the facts. As I stated recently in the House, approximately 26,000 1914 men will have been sent home from Egypt in May and June, and 30,000 1915 men in June and July, and every effort is being made to expedite demobilisation in that area.