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Signallers, Kuwait (Reinforcements)

Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for War what reinforcements of signallers were sent to Kuwait to supplement those landed with their units.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was a serious Shortage of signallers in the crucial stage in the Kuwait campaign? Will he say, first, where the 86 came from—what theatres; and what action he is taking to prevent shortages of this kind from occurring on future occasions?

With great respect, there was not an acute shortage. They could have carried on even without the reinforcements, but this was part of a reinforcement which we knew would have to take place if we intervened in Kuwait. At any given time units are under strength with men away sick, on leave or on courses. It is obviously uneconomic to post a surplus of men to allow for this in normal times. I cannot give the hon. Gentleman particulars of exactly where they came from, but I will write to him, or perhaps he would like to put down another Question.

There is no need for action to prevent this happening on another occasion. It all went all right. It is not a question of signallers. I do not want to delude the House. There is a shortage of signallers, but when we do send troops abroad we send a sufficient complement of ancillary troops so that they can do their job.