HC Deb 12 February 1946 vol 419 cc44-5W
Mr. Astor

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the circumstances attending the repatriation of West African troops from the Far East, and in view of the reduced punishments extended to the Indian National Army for treason able offences, he will assure the House that a similar measure of leniency will be extended to West African troops, now awaiting trial on charges of mutiny and lesser offences, committed subsequent to the end of hostilities in the Far East.

Mr. Lawson

I cannot give any special undertaking in regard to disciplinary cases which aresub judice. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that those cases which have resulted or may result in convictions and sentences will receive careful review in the light of all relevant circumstances.

Mr. Vane

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of complaints among African troops in the Far East, that demobilisation of United Kingdom troops is taking place at a faster rate than that of West Africans and that allocation of transport space for repatriation is relatively more favourable to the former; and if he will give an assurance that an equitable rate of demobilisation and repatriation will be maintained as between West African and United Kingdom troops.

Mr. Lawson

I am aware that there has been some dissatisfaction amongst African troops in India and the Far East at the rate of repatriation and demobilisation, but steps have now been taken to accelerate it, and I hope that all grounds for legitimate complaint will shortly be disposed of. The basis on which demobilisation of African troops takes place is so different from that for United Kingdom troops that it is not possible to make any comparison on a common basis. For example, African troops do not serve for more than three years overseas.

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