HC Deb 20 July 1943 vol 391 cc670-1
17. Major Sir Edward Cadogan

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that letters sent to members of His Majesty's Forces who have changed their addresses are being returned by the Army Post Office to the writers; and whether he will make arrangements by which, when a member of His Majesty's Forces is moved from one station to another, instead of returning letters to the writers they should be forwarded to the addressees?

Sir J. Grigg

Correspondence addressed to members of His Majesty's Forces who have changed their addresses is redirected as a matter of course from their units to their new locations and handed back to the Army Post Office. Correspondence so redirected is delivered at the new address by the Army Post Office if it is a military address, and if it is a civil address in this country, it is handed over to the G.P.O. The Army Post Office redirects correspondence for men whose address is unknown on information supplied by the Officer-in-Charge of Records. If the addressee is unknown the letter is sent to the Postal Tracing Section for redirection. This section consults record offices if necessary. If my hon. and gallant Friend will forward me particulars of cases where this procedure has not been followed, I will gladly have inquiries made.

Sir E. Cadogan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these letters, when sent back to the writers, bear the words, "Cannot be traced," as if the addressees had deserted? Is he going to tell the House that the War Office does not know where they are?

Sir J. Grigg

If my hon. Friend will wait until I have investigated the specific cases that he has sent me, I will answer the question more fully.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a letter addressed to a man who had been six months in a hospital in Cairo was returned "Address unknown," although only a week after it arrived there he had gone to Pietermaritzburg?

Sir J. Grigg

If my hon. Friend will send me particulars, I will investigate that case too, but I am certain that one or two swallows do not make a summer. I have seen from my own observation that the arrangements are working extremely well.

Mr. E. Walkden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the term "No address" was used throughout the whole Army Post Office in the last war? The trouble usually arises from the writer insufficiently addressing the envelope or using an inaccurate address.

Sir J. Grigg

A number of cases have been brought to my notice in which the addressee was insufficiently described. That is the main source of the trouble.