HC Deb 12 October 1945 vol 414 cc546-7W
Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement from the most recent information received on the social and economic conditions of the inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha.

Mr. George Hall

Improvements have been made in social conditions on the Island since 1942, when detachments of the Royal Navy and the South African Air Force were posted to the island. The naval party included a surgeon lieut.-commander, who was placed in administrative charge of the island, and a naval chaplain. A council of ten islanders were set up to assist in the administration and with their co-operation improvements were made in the sanitation of the settlement, in agricultural methods, particularly in the care of livestock, and in various other directions. The erection and maintenance of the station afforded to the islanders an opportunity for paid employment of which they readily availed themselves, and they were thus able to purchase from the naval canteen supplies of groceries, clothing and other necessities. A branch of the British Post Office Savings Bank was opened by the naval surgeon and surplus cash to a total of about £300 has been deposited in the bank by the islanders.

The naval party is to be withdrawn at the end of the year, but it is probable that a meteorological station will be permanently maintained on the island. It is estimated that supplies sufficient to last the islanders for one year will be left in situ on the withdrawal of the naval party. A chaplain is being sent out to the island by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to replace the naval chaplain, and he is now on his way to the island accompanied by his wife. Future arrangements for the welfare of the islanders are now engaging my attention.

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