HC Deb 17 October 1945 vol 414 cc1145-6
22. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many British civilians were in British North Borneo at the time of the outbreak of war with Japan; how many are now surviving; whether lists of survivors have been made available to relatives; and what steps have been taken, or are contemplated, to bring the survivors back to the United Kingdom.

Mr. George Hall

Three hundred and sixty British civilians were reported by the Japanese to have been interned in British Borneo. Detailed lists of those who have been liberated in this area have not yet been received from the Australian military authorities, who are responsible for their preparation,but I am taking urgent measures to expedite this matter. Direct reports of release and transfer to Australia have been received in a number of cases, and all information, as it becomes available, is immediately passed to relatives. Arrangements for repatriation have been planned via Australia.

Mr. Warbey

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the great anxiety felt by many relatives, owing to the prolonged delay in receiving news; and will he urge upon the Australian authorities the desirability of making information available at the earliest possible moment?

Mr. Hall

Yes, Sir. We are doing all we can to assist in this matter.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

When the right hon. Gentleman says "British Borneo" does he include Sarawak?

Mr. Hall

Yes, Sir.