HC Deb 20 March 1918 vol 104 c963
30. Mr. WATT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether all the graves in France of British soldiers have been photographed; if so, whether copies are available for the relatives of the soldiers; and is he aware of the delays which have taken place in that Department, sometimes amounting to ten months after a request was lodged, in letting the relatives have such photograph or informing them that such was definitely unprocurable?


Photographs of soldiers' graves in France are only taken on request, and when taken are sent by the War Office direct to the relatives who applied for them. Up to the end of 1917 over 60,000 such requests had been complied with. The length of time taken in supplying a photograph depends upon the accessibility or otherwise for the purpose of photography of the cemetery or grave concerned. It has been found necessary from time to time to suspend temporarily all photography in certain cemeteries, or even certain districts. In cases where such suspension has affected considerable numbers of requests, and it has been possible for military reasons to do so, the fact has been notified to relatives. My hon. Friend will, of course, realise that this photography is a pure "labour of love" on the part of the Army authorities.


Having regard to the fact that many men were killed by shells, and it was impossible to bury them, will a cross be erected in the cemetery in connection with those cases?


The Army authorities pay the greatest care and attention to the matter, but I am afraid that the proposition the hon. Gentleman puts forward is quite impossible.