HC Deb 14 February 1917 vol 90 cc617-8

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that supplies of clothing and food can be sent by parents and friends to officers and civilians interned as prisoners of war in Germany but are forbidden to be sent to private soldiers; will he say what is the reason for this distinction; whether lie is aware that the Central Prisoners of War Committee, in accordance with the War Office rules, can only allow one suit of underclothing and two pairs of socks to be sent to each private soldier once in six months; whether the Central Committee has approached the War Office to get this rule altered; and if he will have the Regulations amended so that civilians, officers, and private soldiers may be accorded equality of treatment?


Under War Office Regulations, parcels for both civilian and combatant prisoners of war in Germany must be sent through the Central Prisoners of War Committee, or one of its authorised associations, except in the case of officers. Among other difficulties, it has been found by experience that private parcels required examination in the Censor's, Department, and it would not be practicable to enforce the censorship in the many thousands of cases of parcels addressed to civilians and private soldiers. The allowance of clothing that may be sent to prisoners in Germany is as follows: One pair of boots, one pair of canvas shoes, two pairs of socks, two pairs of drawers, two vests, two shirts, one cardigan, one pair of gloves, one pair of trousers, one jacket, one kit bag, one cap, three handkerchiefs, and two towels (every six months), and one greatcoat (every year); for German camps in Russian territory there are, in addition, one fur or skin coat, one pair of long boots, and two pairs of lumbermen's socks or stockings (every six months). The amount of the above allowances has been recently discussed between the Central Committee and the War Office, with the result that the authorities have been unable to see their way to sanction an increase. I fear the only effect of carrying out the suggestion in the last part of the question would be to impose some disadvantage on one class of prisoners with no compensating gain to others.