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Overseas Married Quarters

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on progress in providing married quarters in overseas commands for soldiers serving on Regular engagements; and state the number of officers and other ranks, in each of the overseas commands, provided with married quarters at the latest convenient date.

In all overseas commands semi-permanent married quarters are being built, or existing permanent quarters renovated. The numbers are largely dictated by the availability of labour and materials, and the paramount need to provide reasonable accommodation for the single soldier, but I am satisfied that all commands are doing their best to provide the maximum number of married quarters within the means at their disposal. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the information asked for in the last part of the Question.

Does the Under-Secretary realise that there is considerable anxiety about the policy in this matter, especially in the 'Middle East and in India Command, for obvious reasons, and will he see that there is published in command orders a statement of policy to bring home to every married soldier what is the exact situation?

Bearing in mind what the Under-Secretary has just said, may I ask him to take particular note of the position of wives who have to remain in England, and see that they get some married quarters in the English camps?

I share the anxiety mentioned by my hon. Friend, but not on the score of policy. I believe that soldiers overseas are aware of the difficulty, but I will certainly look into the suggestions made in the last part of his supplementary. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member, I am certainly aware of the needs of wives in England.

Will the Under-Secretary make certain that wives, for whom quarters may be made available, get passages to go out to them?

Following is the information:

The following numbers of married quarters in overseas commands were in occupation by officers and other ranks on 31st March, 1947 (31st December, 1946, in the case of M.E.L.F.):

OfficersOther Ranks
B.A.S. (France)6777
East Africa74100
West Africa13
North and South Caribbean Areas (including Bermuda)49129