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Mails, North Africa

Volume 395: debated on Wednesday 1 December 1943

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asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the continued delay in delivery of both letters and air mail to the forces in North Africa; and whether he can give satisfactory reasons for this?Mr. Turton asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that a certain unit serving in North Africa, the identity of which he has been informed, received no air mail for a period of 17 days in October, 1943; that on 25th October, 1943, the most recent sea mail received by this unit was posted in the United Kingdom on 6th August; and whether he will take the necessary steps to improve the postal facilities between this country and North Africa?

Surface mails for His Majesty's Forces in North Africa are despatched by the Army Postal Authorities, and I am assured that every available outlet is used. They advise me that congestion at the port of disembarkation resulted recently in unavoidable delay to some of the mails, but the trouble has been eliminated. The mails from this country are now taking up to four weeks to reach the Base Army Post Office in North Africa. I am unable at the moment to explain why on the 25th of October the unit referred to by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton had received no sea mail from home since that posted on the 6th August, because I am advised that at least a dozen despatches from the United Kingdom made after the 6th of August were received and dealt with at the Base Army Post Office in North Africa before the 25th of October. The Army Postal Authorities are therefore having inquiries made overseas, and I will communicate the result to my hon. Friend when their report is received. Air letter mails for North Africa suffered delay during part of October, but I am informed this was due to interruption of the air service owing to weather conditions.