HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1848-9
38. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Secretary of State for War the exact procedure followed in notifying next-of-kin of the existence of their relatives asprisoners of war; and whether in all such cases the camps are stated and guidance given as to the best way of communicating with them.

Mr. Law

Notification is sent to the next-of-kin immediately on the receipt of a report by the War Office that an officer or other rank is a prisoner of war. The next-of-kin are advised at the same time of all known details, such as the camp address, the prisoner of war's number, and his state of health. All subsequent reports received by the War Office, both official and unofficial, are tranmsitted as soon as possible. The next-of-kin are also referred to a pamphlet issued by the General Post Office which indicates in detail the procedure for communicating with prisoners of war and states the rules for the dispatch of parcels through the British Red Cross Society or firms holding special permits. Copies of this pamphlet can be obtained at any post office.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Is the hon. Member aware that in a considerable number of cases families are receiving notices from the War Office reporting soldiers as "missing, believed killed," and that these notices are followed about a fortnight afterwards by another statement from the War Office that the soldier is a prisoner of war? Will he take steps to see that more care is exercised in sending out these notices, which cause great distress?

Mr. Law

I can assure my hon. Friend that the very greatest care is exercised on the point, and if he will inform me of any cases in which we have slipped up, I will have them looked into.

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