§ 9 and 10. Sir William Davison
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) what is the explanation for only 3,172 parcels of clothing having been received by British prisoners of war in German prison camps when it was understood that over 40,000 clothing parcels had been dispatched by the Red Cross Society; and what has happened to the missing 37,000 clothing parcels;
(2) what is the explanation for only 78,345 parcels of food having so far reached British prisoners of war in German prison camps, which is less than two parcels per man during the whole of the last eight or nine months instead of a weekly parcel per man as it was understood was being sent; and what is the total number of the parcels dispatched which have not arrived?
§ Mr. Law
Up to the end of February, 32,169 parcels of clothing and 981,612 food parcels for British prisoners of war in Germany had been handed over to the General Post Office by the War Organisation of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St. John, and, of these 3,554 and over 84,000 respectively, had been acknowledged as received. In addition, 34,000 unclassified parcels are known to have been received. The figures for despatches and receipts, however, cannot be properly compared, as the receipts cover the period up to the middle or end of January only and should be compared with the figures of parcels despatched from this country up to, say, the end of November. Of the parcels for which no receipts have yet been received, therefore, a certain number will have reached the camps since the date of the latest receipts, and, apart from 16,000 parcels known to be lost through enemy action, the rest must be presumed to be in transit. In this connection it must be remembered that it takes about eight weeks for a parcel to reach Germany, and about six weeks for the notification of its receipt at the camp to arrive here.
§ Sir W. Davison
As it is difficult to follow so many figures when read out, can my hon. Friend say that the War Office 4 are now more satisfied regarding the delivery of parcels to the various camps than was the case a little time ago?
§ Sir Annesley Somerville
May I ask whether the transport is now working between Lisbon and Marseilles?
§ Mr. Thorne
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there is any guarantee that after the parcels leave the Red Cross and are handed into Germany they get into the hands of the prisoners?