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North Africa (Wireless Sets And Reading Matter)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is satisfied that there is a reasonably adequate supply of wireless sets in the First and Eighth Armies for the entertainment and information of the troops?

While the Eighth Army was in the Middle East it was on the whole adequately provided with wireless sets. Its present deficiencies are being made good. Sufficient shipping space could not be allocated to transport wireless sets to North Africa until the military stores and equipment vitally needed there had been despatched. But a number of sets has been sent, and I hope that an adequate supply will reach the troops before long.

What is the organisation through which the public can send wireless sets to the Forces in the Middle East?

I will let my hon. Friend know. I do not remember it at this moment, but there is some means through the Army Welfare Organisation.

Is there a First Army daily news sheet on the lines of that printed in the Eighth Army?

There is certainly a newspaper, but I cannot say offhand whether it is daily or weekly. In fact, both the First Army and Eighth Army publish their own newspapers.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the lack of recreation facilities for the Eighth and First Armies during periods of inactivity and the desire of the men for books, he will arrange for immediate despatch to these armies direct an ample supply of literature as an issue?

I am fully alive to the need for supplying as much reading matter as possible to the troops in North Africa. I gave some details of what is being done in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) on 6th April, of which I will send the hon. Lady a copy.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether whatever he is doing is being done direct for the First Army? That is the main point.

I do not quite understand what the hon. Lady means by "direct." It is being done in the way most likely to ensure that reading matter goes to the troops who need it.