HC Deb 04 June 1924 vol 174 c1248

asked the Minister of Health if he will notify the heads of all mental institutions to send up to the officers of the Board of Control a photograph of every service patient suffering from loss of memory, whether said to have been identified or not; is he aware that Private Walter Symonds, No. 87460, B company, Section 3, 51st Horse Battery, Machine Gun Corps, who went to France for the third time on the 2nd April, 1918, was eight days later reported missing from La Bassée, but was afterwards seen suffering from shell-shock by a comrade near Achoix Wood; that he has never since been heard of; and, in view of the possibility of his having been relegated under another name to some asylum, will he take steps to see that the doubt of such a fate having befallen him be set at rest?


I have been asked to reply. As to the particular case, Private Symonds was never reported missing. He was reported by his Commanding Officer, on 20th April, 1918, as having been killed in action on 10th April, and I regret that there is no reason to doubt the correctness of this report. There is no trace of any report that he was afterwards seen suffering from shell-shock. As to the general question, there is no soldier of the Imperial Army under care for mental trouble who has not been identified and whose condition and situation have not been notified to his relatives. I do not think, therefore, that there is any need for the action suggested' in the first part of the question.