Women's Royal Naval Service, East Anglia

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons on 9th December 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will have inquiries made with a view to making more adequate provision for heat and warmth, including warm food, to members of the Women's Royal Naval Service who are stationed in huts attached to a Royal Naval Training Centre in East Anglia; and whether he is aware of the excessive number of local rules on this station for the Women's Royal Naval Service many of which are in direct conflict with the recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Amenities and Welfare Conditions in the three Women's Services?

Photo of Mr George Hall Mr George Hall , Merthyr Tydfil Aberdare

I am satisfied that the heating in the Wren's chalets, mess and recreation spaces in the establishment to which the hon. Member's Question pre- sumably refers is adequate. In one or two of the places where Wrens work, it is not yet entirely satisfactory: it will be made so as soon as the necessary material can be obtained. Meals are served from electrically heated trolleys. These have not been entirely successful and the installation of electric or gas heated cupboards is now being considered. I may mention that sickness amongst Wrens in the establishment during the last two years has been remarkably small. I am not aware that the number of local rules on the station concerned is excessive or that any of them conflicts with the recommendations in the report to which the hon. Member refers.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is the Minister aware that the facts are otherwise? Is he aware also that repeated promises have been made to provide adequate warm quarters and food but have not been fulfilled, and that this is a notorious station, where, in the early part of the war, many hundreds of trainees died of pneumonia? Will the Admiralty get on with this job of putting the matter right?

Photo of Mr George Hall Mr George Hall , Merthyr Tydfil Aberdare

The information which I have given in reply to the Question has been received from the station since my hon. Friend put this Question on the Order Paper. I am bound to accept, and I would ask him to accept, the statement which I have made.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Would it not be a good thing for the Admiralty to consider employing women medical officers, as the other two Services do, to look after this type of person?

Mr. De la Bère:

Mr. Speaker, as I have reason to believe that the facts are otherwise than were stated by the Minister, and that the statement that the, health of those who were billeted there last year was good, is misleading to this House, I beg to give notice that I will raise the whole matter at the earliest possible opportunity.