Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Defence written question – answered on 27th June 2007.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with senior members of the armed forces on the operational suitability of combat footwear issued to UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

Following comments from Telic and Herrick in June 2006, alternative boots were provided and sizing advice was offered to units. In addition, a trial to select new commercially available desert boots is due to complete during 2007. This will allow a new boot to be issued to all troops deploying in the autumn and a second alternative boot to be available from early 2008—thus offering some degree of choice. The Department has also initiated a project to introduce a web-based application for the controlled supply of personal clothing to provide service personnel with the ability to order from an online catalogue, with item(s) despatched to an address of choice. This could eventually change the way that items such as boots are provided.

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Caroline Taylor
Posted on 19 Jul 2007 7:17 pm (Report this annotation)

May i just point out that the boots supplied to some of the recent soldiers deployed in Iraq have caused a lot of problems to the health and wellbeing of soldiers. This is due to the boots not being adequate or appropriate for the conditions and use. Maybe not skimping on decent footwear would be a good start. There is no way that the new combat desert boots will last 5 years based on conditions and use also the supply of all size boots would also be a good start. With the notice given nowadays on deployments you'd think that the army would make sure all units being deployed would have all range of sizes and not send soldiers away with the nearest size because they don't have the right size, therefore causing problems once they start to use them! Can you comment?

Caroline Taylor

Caroline Taylor
Posted on 19 Jul 2007 7:24 pm (Report this annotation)

With regard to clothing, again deployments are known as much as a year in advance so therefore how come the individual units concerned do not have adequate stocks of clothing and different sizes. Do you think it acceptable to send soldiers away with whatever is available. Do you not realise that this is not acceptable and if picked up it's a chargeable offence for not having the proper uniform. Has the army stooped that low that it cannot afford to provide even the basic uniform to it's soldiers?

How is this justified by the MOD?