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Troopship "Rajula" (Conditions)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is yet in a position to make a statement on conditions aboard H.M.T. "Rajula," during her recent voyage from Kure to Singapore;(2) if the provision of 15 lavatories and 28 washbasins for 1,000 British other ranks in H.M.T. "Rajula" is the standard regarded as satisfactory for a voyage of 3,000 miles through tropical waters;(3) if the alleged low standard of discipline of British other ranks in H.M.T. "Rajula," which led to the confinement of i,000 men to the forward well deck, manifested itself before they were allocated to extremely poor accommodation on board and were allowed ashore only for a route march.

As my right hon. Friend promised in answer to a previous Question by my hon. Friend, he wrote to him on 22nd April about conditions on board this transport during the voyage referred to. The discipline of the troops on board had not given any previous cause for complaint, and although the number of men carried on this voyage was within the scale laid down by regulations for a ship of the size of the "Rajula," conditions were not ideal. This was, however, the last voyage of the "Rajula" as a trooper, and she has now been returned to her owners. Continual efforts are being made to raise the standard of accommodation on troopships as labour and material become available, but in order to avoid reducing the amount of home leave now granted to soldiers overseas it is, unfortunately, necessary to continue to use some ships for trooping purposes which are admittedly below the standard of accommodation which it is my right hon. Friend's intention eventually to achieve.