asked the Prime Minister the number of British tanks that were destroyed by the Germans in Libya on 13th June, with a view to correcting public misconception on this matter; and who informed him that some 230 British tanks were lost in that one day's fighting?
My statement that 230 tanks were lost on 13th June was based on a misreading of the terms of the telegram from the Middle East. According to the latest information, about 200 tanks were lost over a period of about a week. It is not possible to say exactly how many were lost on 13th June, but the bulk of the losses probably took place on that and the previous day.
Is it not a pity that the truth was not made public sooner, instead of allowing people to believe, for three whole months, that on 13th June there had been a sort of Balaclava charge in which we lost 230 tanks in an ambush, because that was a grave injustice both to our leaders and to the training of the Royal Armoured Corps?
I always do my best to give the House the fullest and the earliest information possible, and on this occasion I acted in an entirely bona fide manner. I gave the best information in my possession, and I cannot feel myself at all blameworthy in the matter.