HC Deb 27 March 1941 vol 370 cc700-1
52. Major Milner

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that coroners' inquests are not now being held in the case of casualties apparently due to air raids; that administration of the new procedure is in the hands of mortuary attendants usually without any special qualifications or experience; and whether, having regard to the difficulties arising in regard to identification and other matters, and to the possibility of deaths by violence other than by air raids being undiscovered, he will consider reversion to the system of coroners' courts with any necessary modifications?

Mr. H. Morrison

In view of the impossibility of arranging for a coroner's inquest in every case of death due to war operations, a Defence Regulation was made at the outbreak of war which placed on the clerk of the local authority the responsibility for certifying to the Registrar that death was due to war operations in the cases to which my hon. Friend refers. There is a responsibility on the local authority to see that the superintendents of mortuaries are competent persons; and unless it is clear that the death was due to war operations the case must be referred to the coroner for investigation. The question of making special provision in cases where there are difficulties of identification has recently been under the consideration of the Government, and by a new Regulation which came into force on the 14th March provision has been made for special inquiries by the coroner in such cases.