HC Deb 13 December 1963 vol 686 cc134-5W
Dr. Alan Thompson

asked the Minister of Defence if he is satisfied with the adequacy of welfare arrangements for Service personnel in Borneo; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Yes. I am satisfied that the welfare needs of the Servicemen in Borneo are being met—as far as conditions allow. The following are examples of the facilities that have been provided.

N.A.A.F.I. opened a bulk issue store at Labuan and a club in temporary premises in Brunei, in December,1962. Since then a further two bulk issue stores and seven junior ranks clubs have been opened; of these clubs two are in permanent town buildings in Kuching and Brunei and the others in unit locations in local structures. A beach refreshment service is also provided for the Brunei Town Club.

To help in organising local welfare three members of the Women's Voluntary Service are working in Borneo and a fourth will shortly join them.

Since January this year three live entertainment parties have gone to Borneo from the United Kingdom and one or two further parties will be sent between now and March 1964. Cinema shows are provided by the Army Kinema Corporation as far as conditions allow and the A.K.C. operate one mobile cinema in Borneo. Films are provided by both A.K.C. and the Royal Air Force Cinema Corporation for showing on local unit 16 mm. projectors. Films are also shown during the transport of troops from Singapore to Borneo. Transistor radio sets, 2 minibuses, boats and aqua-sport equipment and electric fans for living accommodation are being provided through Nuffield Trust Funds.

Duty free cigarettes are available from N.A.A.F.I. sources and a free issue of cigarettes and tobacco has been made.

Sunday newspapers at U.K. prices are provided from Singapore and arrangements are also made to provide local daily papers in English.

A Forces Post Office has been established in Borneo to serve the Forces and normal Forces Concessional Postal Rates apply.

The tours of both British and Gurkha battalions in Borneo are limited to not more than about six months.