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Prisoners Of War (Transport)

Volume 414: debated on Monday 22 October 1945

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asked the Minister of War Transport how many coaches and omnibuses are being used for the transportation of German and Italian prisoners of war to and from their work; and if he will arrange for these prisoners to travel in lorries so that the coaches and omnibuses maybe made available to augment the public transport facilities, particularly in rural areas.

There are about 250 coaches and omnibuses operated for this purpose by those employing the prisoners, usually with the employer's own driver. About 1,200 are operated by road passenger operators and most of these are engaged on, or available for, other work as well.

The arrangements vary according to local conditions. As a general rule coaches and omnibuses are not used where lorries are available, but in some instances coaches and omnibuses are used to carry prisoners of war because they are not suitable for ordinary public transport or cannot be used for that purpose owing to lack of crews.

:Is the Minister aware that the use of these coaches in country districts causes great exasperation to country people who often have to walk long distances to work and who have to stand in the hedges to allow these coaches carrying prisoners to pass by?

I am quite aware of the feeling on these matters, and I hope the answer I have given will go some way to alleviate it.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many Army lorries parked in different parts of the country which could be used to carry these prisoners, thus releasing the coaches to convey civilians?