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Thursday, 17 June 1915

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - The honorable senator asked me the following questions : -

1.   Will he make known the nature and quantity of the food which is supplied to the troops in training in Western Australia by showing what they receive for breakfast, dinner, and tea respectively f

2.   Do the Government provide these meals or are they supplied under contract?

The answers to the questions are given in the form of a statement, -which reads -

The daily ration of the troops of the Australian Imperial Force consists of: - li lbs. bread, H lbs, fresh meat, J oz. coffee, 1-32 oz. pepper, 8 oz. mixed vegetables or 2 oz. cheese, 1 lb. potatoes, 3 oz. sugar, i oz. salt, i ox. tea, i lb. Jam.

Its distribution into the three meals of breakfast,, dinner, and tea, depends largely on circumstances, viz., the nature of the training which the troops are undergoing at the time, which probably varies from day to day, and the individual tastes of the men themselves. In the initial stages of training, when soldiers arc being principally exercised at' drill, the meals can be arranged and distributed into three regular portions, the principal meal, a hot one, being usually partaken of in the middle of the day. When engaged in manoeuvres, field training or musketry, the principal meals would usually be breakfast, and a hot meal at tea-time, the midday ration being carried in the haversack

It would be almost impossible, mid certainly injudicious, to lay down hard and fast lines as to the distribution of the entire ration into three proportionate parts for breakfast, dinner and tea. Adequate provision is always mode for one hot meal, in addition to breakfast, whether it be cooked at mid-day or in the evening, but some men prefer to have the whole of the residue of their meat ration at breakfast, whilst others like to retain a portion for the tea time. The full ration is considered ample for the men's wants, and it lias been found best to allow sonic little latitude as to its apportionment.

The above-mentioned procedure would doubt- less obtain in the case of troops training in Western Australia. The Commandant of that district has been instructed by lettergram to furnish detailed information in this connexion, with a view to ascertaining whether any unusual departure from the recognised procedure in regard to the distribution of meals has obtained in his command.

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