§ 82. Mr. Walkden
asked the Secretary of State for War if he will investigate the causes of delay of men at the transit camp in the Hook of Holland who are returning to Britain on compassionate leave; if he is aware that quite often men are detained there for five or six days; and if he will improve this service.
§ Mr. Bellenger
During the last 12 months the service from Hook of Holland 955 to Harwich has been temporarily suspended on only three occasions on account of bad weather. Otherwise accommodation has always been sufficient to clear all men from the transit camp each day, whatever the reason for their journey may have been, and I have received an assurance from the headquarters concerned that men are not detained for five or six days. In the circumstances I see no necessity for any further action on my part.
§ Mr. Walkden
Is the Minister aware that there have been a number of complaints about this bottleneck at the Hook of Holland, and that it is not due to bad weather? The War Office and the welfare officers seem to do their job, but the bottleneck always seems to happen at the Hook of Holland. Will he not go more deeply into the question?
§ Mr. Bellenger
Whether or not my hon. Friend thinks it is satisfactory, this is probably the best Channel route we have available. Although I have not been to the Hook of Holland to inspect this transit camp, I have seen two other transit camps, in Calais and Dieppe, and I am satisfied that on the whole these camps and the services provided on these routes are as satisfactory as we can get them at the moment.