HC Deb 29 October 1919 vol 120 cc693-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether since May over 50,000 troops have been involved in the campaign against the Kurds; whether both British and Indian troops were on field rations for a period of weeks; whether the medical arrangements were inadequate; whether he is aware that no appliances were provided, and that the men sick with fever were strapped into panniers and rode on each side of a mule during the July heat: whether the hospital at Suliamaniyeh is a collection of tents where men lie on the ground with one ground sheet and one blanket; whether cases of whisky and of beer were sent by convoy 100 miles from the railhead long before even tents were provided for the troops; and whether he will cause urgent inquiries to be made?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. It is quite possible that both British and Indian troops were on field rations for short periods, as this is quite usual in similar circumstances. There is no reason to think the medical arrangements were inadequate. As regards the sick being carried on mules, I am afraid this was probably the only alternative to walking in this difficult hill country. There is no hospital in Suliamaniyeh. What my hon. Friend probably refers to is the tent subdivision of the field ambulance, which forms the best accommodation possible during the initial stages of an advance. While I have no information on the subject, I think it very improbable that cases of spirits were forwarded to the front in advance of the Expeditionary Force canteens. I am not in a position to give further details without reference to Mesopotamia. If, however, my hon. Friend has evidence of matters which on further consideration he thinks call for inquiry I shall be glad if he will forward it to the War Office, where it will receive careful, attention.