HC Deb 15 May 1919 vol 115 cc1761-2

asked what steps are now being taken to ascertain the fate and trace the graves of British prisoners of war who died in Turkish hands; and whether any inquiry will be instituted as to the circumstances under which many of them met their end?

Captain GUEST

In the case of the great majority of British prisoners of war who died in Turkish hands, definite reports of death have been received either from the Turkish Government or from reliable unofficial sources. A list of all officers and men who are known to have been captured but who have neither been repatriated nor reported to have died has been sent to the British military authorities in the East for them to make such investigations as may be possible and also to the Turkish Government with a demand that each prisoner of war on the list shall be accounted for. The Directorate of Graves Registration and Inquiries is taking steps to obtain all possible information as to the places of burial of British prisoners of war who died in Turkish hands, and officers of the Directorate are now in Asia Minor prosecuting inquiries. The Turkish Government have been asked to furnish full details of the place of burial in all these cases. Some particulars have been received from two chaplains who were with the prisoners and from the Turkish Red Crescent and other sources. As regards the last part of the question, I am informed that the evidence accumulated by the Government Committee appointed to inquire as to the treatment by the enemy of British prisoners of war has brought to light a number of cases in which the death of prisoners is attributable to the brutality and callousness of their Turkish captors. This evidence has been examined by my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General's Committee, and the action to be taken regarding individuals against whom a good case can be established is now a matter for the Peace Conference to decide and provide for in framing the terms of the Peace Treaty with Turkey.

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