HC Deb 01 October 1942 vol 383 cc926-7
46. Mr. I. Thomas

asked the Prime Minister whether the principles followed in the three Services with regard to the award of the Victoria Cross to officers and men taken prisoner by the enemy are the same?

Mr. Attlee

The principles followed are substantially the same. When there is satisfactory evidence of the circumstances and of the act of gallantry, cases are considered at once on their merits by the Admiralty, War Office or Air Ministry, as the case may be. Otherwise, consideration is postponed.

Mr. Thomas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in practice the War Office is more reluctant than the other services in awarding the Victoria Cross to prisoners of war? Should not the award be made to prisoners as well as to men who have not been taken prisoner, as an act of justice?

Mr. Attlee

My hon. Friend will realise that in these cases it is necessary to get the facts right. I do not think he is right in saying that the War Office are reluctant, but they must establish the facts. If my hon. Friend has any particular case he would like to bring before me or the Secretary of State for War, we shall be glad to look into it.