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Detention Barracks, Western Germany

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 13 April 1954

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if he will make more adequate arrangements for the administrative supervision of detention barracks in Western Germany.

There are two detention barracks in Western Germany, one a military corrective establishment at Bielefeld administered by the Army, and the other a field punishment and detention unit at Wahnerheide administered by the Royal Air Force. The supervision of these establishments is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War and my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Air.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the grave public anxiety which is felt about conditions in these camps having regard to recent events? Is it not the fact that, arising out of the wartime case of Rifleman Clayton, a court of inquiry made recommendations affecting conditions of administration of discipline in detention camps? Have these recommendations been implemented?

In reply to the first part, I think the hon. Member refers to a recent court-martial. The sentences have not yet been confirmed and a court of inquiry on the matter is now sitting, so I cannot at present say any more about it. Perhaps the hon. Member will give me notice of the second part of his question. I cannot answer offhand.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary not direct the attention of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to the shocking state of affairs which has been revealed in some of these camps and see what can be done to clear them up?