HC Deb 10 May 1923 vol 163 c2619W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what has become of certain stowaways who were given in charge on their arrival from Australia; whether they were all ex-service men; whether his Department has taken any cognisance of the matter; and whether he can make any statement to the House in regard to it?

Lieut.-Colonel BUCKLEY

The hon. Member no doubt refers to the case of the five stowaways from Australia who were recently charged at Grays Police Court, in Essex, with the result that four of them were sentenced to one week's imprisonment, the fifth being bound over. These men were ex-service men who received passages to Australia under the Government Free Passage Scheme. Their cases have been very fully investigated by the Oversea Settlement Committee, who interviewed each man personally and were represented at the proceedings at Grays. My Committee agree with the view taken both by the investigating magistrates and the Australian authorities that the men in question were unsuitable and unadaptable and responsible for their own failures. I am forwarding to the hon. Member a copy of a telegram from Australia which, in my opinion, fully bears out this view.