Seamen and Soldiers

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons on 15th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

asked (1) the Secretary of State for India how many seamen have joined the British Mercantile Marine; and what has been the increase of the Indian Army since 1939;

(2) the Secretary of State for Burma how many Burmese have joined the British Mercantile Marine; and how many Burmese have joined the Indian Army since 1939?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The number of Indian and Burmese seamen now serving on British foreign-going merchant ships is estimated to be approximately 30,000. Burmese seamen were not separately enumerated in the latest census of Indian and Burmese seamen which was made in 1938. Their number is, however, believed to be small. As regards the second part of each. Question it would not be in the public interest to give detailed figures. The strength of the Indian Army has, however, increased nearly sevenfold since 1939 Burmans are not enlisted in the Indian Army, but in the Burma Army, in which their numbers increased about threefold between the outbreak of war and the beginning of this year.