§ Major HORE-BELISHA
asked (1) the Under-Secretary of State for Air if steps are now being taken to ensure that accommodation on troopships during the coming trooping season shall be adequate for the rank and file;
(2) the Secretary of State for War if steps are now being taken to ensure that troopships shall not be overcrowded during the coming trooping season; and
(3) what is the method adopted to ensure that each member of the rank and 3113W file on board troopships has sufficient feeding and sleeping accommodation, and on what basis is the cubic space per man calculated; what is the cubic space per man; and what is the cubic space per woman allowed on Government transports?
Accommodation for troops and families on board transports is not worked out on a cubic foot basis. Each man is allowed a seat of 20 inches space at a mess table, and hammock billets spaced at 27 inches apart are fitted for 80 per cent of the number. The 20 per cent. not provided with hammock billets is covered by men on duty as guards, etc. In the case of families, the accommodation is governed by the number of berths in cabins. In addition, each woman is allowed a seat of 20 inches at a mess table and the space outside the cabins is fitted as a sitting-room. On the above basis, the cubic space per person on five of the six ships to be used during the forthcoming season (figures for the sixth ship are not yet available) works out on the average as follows:
- Per man, 96 cubic feet.
- Per family berth, 348 cubic feet.
In addition, there are the spaces occupied by hospitals, lavatories and latrines, which are not included in the above figures. The accommodation provided for troops has been considerably improved since the end of the War, and on an average the troops are now given 25 per cent. more space than before When a ship is about to be engaged as a troop transport, she is inspected by technical officers of the Sea Transport Department, accompanied by a combatant officer of the War Office or Air Ministry and by a military or Air Force medical officer, to ensure that the ship is suitable for the purpose. After the ship has been fitted up, she is again inspected by a joint Board of Trade, War Office or Air Ministry and Medical Board to ensure that the accommodation is satisfactory and that the ship is not overcrowded.