HC Deb 15 May 1918 vol 106 cc344-6
28 and 63. Mr. JOWETT

asked the Under-secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that the Central Prisoners of War Committee complain that the War Office have forbidden them to send any food or clothing to British prisoners interned in Holland; if he is aware of the effect of this prohibition having regard to the urgent need of the interned prisoners for food and clothing; whether he will take steps to have the prohibition removed; (2) if he is aware of the complaints that are being made by the relatives of prisoners of war interned in Holland on account of the difficulty there has been in sending money or necessities to them through the care committee, notwithstanding the requirements of the prisoners; if he is aware that in the matter of clothing some of the prisoners are especially in need by reason of the fact that on leaving prisoner camps in Germany they left behind as much clothing as possible for the relief of new prisoners, expecting they would themselves be better supplied in Holland; and what steps he is taking to remove the cause of the complaints?


The Netherlands Government have, under contract with His Majesty's Government, undertaken to supply food for British prisoners of war interned in Holland. Owing to the shortage of supplies in that country, the Government have recently been obliged by popular feeling to reduce the ration of bread and meat to that which is allowed to Dutch civilians. It seems probable that this ration is low, and the question of obtaining the permission of the Netherlands Government to supplement this with supplies from this country is under consideration. It is not considered advisable to allow essential articles of food which are rationed in this country to be sent to Holland.

The officer in charge of British interned in Holland has a considerable stock of uniforms on hand. These are issued when required and replaced on demand. The difficulties in regard to the transmission of money from this country to Holland are recognised, and it is hoped to make arrangements in the near future whereby these difficulties will be largely obviated.


asked the hon. Member for Sheffield (Central Division) whether the Government has yet received from the German Government full details of the trial of Sergeant E. A. Boyd, Royal Naval Air Service; and, if not, or in the event of the Government not being satisfied with the reply, and in view of the fact that this man is working out his harsh sentence, will the Government at once notify the German Government of its intention to make reprisals unless Sergeant Boyd is forthwith released and treated properly as a prisoner of war?

Mr. J. HOPE (Lord of the Treasury)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I circulated on Monday last, not knowing it was my hon. Friend's intention to postpone it.—[See OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1918, col. 61.]


Will the hon. Gentleman consider that, as this unfortunate Sergeant Boyd has already suffered nearly six months of this very harsh imprisonment, it will soon be too late to make strong representations?


I said in my answer, which I carry in my mind, that no reply had been received from the German Government, and that the question of retaliation in this and other cases was before the military authorities.


Will the hon. Gentleman explain to the military authorities that it will be too late, as this man will have served his harsh sentence?


The matter has been brought very closely before the military authorities.


Can the hon. Gentleman say when we may expect an answer and a decision on this matter?


Of course, a question of retaliation of this kind cannot be treated in isolation from other similar questions, and the whole question of retaliation has now become a Cabinet one.