Survivors, Alexandria

Oral Answers to Questions — Merchant Navy – in the House of Commons on 10th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he can give any explanation as to why the administrative offices of the Ministry of War Transport in Alexandria were evacuated towards the end of June of this year; and whether any survivors from merchant vessels arrived at the offices but could not obtain assistance owing to the absence of the principal officials?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

The staff re-arrangements to which my hon. Friend refers did not affect the position of survivors from shipwreck, since the proper authority at Alexandria for providing for the needs of shipwrecked seamen is His Majesty's Consul-General, who, with his staff, remained at Alexandria throughout the summer.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is my hon. Friend aware that when these survivors from certain merchant vessels arrived at Alexandria they could not find anyone to deal with their special case, and had then to proceed to Cairo?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

I cannot understand why they could find no one, because the Consul-General was there with all his staff.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not true that there was only one person present at that time?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby

No, it is not at all true.