§ Major MORRISON-BELL
asked the Secretary of State for War if an officer proceeding with his wife to India received a wire that he was to embark on the ss. "Egypt" on the 14th February; if this date was cancelled to the 18th, then to the 23rd, and then to the 2nd of March; if the War Office wired that she would sail on the 13th or 15th and later on fixed the 20th; and if, in view of the expense and inconvenience already caused, he can state if the 20th may now be considered a final and definite date?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The facts are generally as stated in the question. The s.s. "Egypt" was due to leave Tilbury on the 14th February, but its sailing has been delayed owing, it is understood, to defects which developed in the main steampipe, and proved to be beyond repair. A new pipe was put in hand, but this also was defective and consequently it was necessary to make a further new2042W pipe which has not proved satisfactory. It is not anticipated that the ship will leave Middlesbrough until the 20th March, and, if this date is kept, embarkation will take place about the 23rd–25th March, but it is regretted that no definite promise can be given. Sufficient shipping is not available to enable all passengers to be transferred to other ships, but as far as, possible berths have been provided in other ships for unaccompanied ladies and those taking families.