HC Deb 23 April 1947 vol 436 cc1020-1
36. Mr. Medland

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what proposals he has for the erection of a further monument on Plymouth Hoe to commemorate the men who lost their lives in the last war; what area of land the monument will occupy; and if he will consider using this money to benefit the dependents educationally or in some manner other than the erection of monuments.

Mr. Dugdale

The existing memorial on Plymouth Hoe records the names of officers and men of the Royal Navy belonging to the port of Plymouth who gave their lives in the first world war and have no other grave than the sea. The Imperial War Graves Commission have prepared plans, which are now being considered by the Admiralty, for the extension of this memorial in order that the names of the missing and those buried at sea during the second world war may be added. The extension proposed takes the form of quadrant screen walls round the existing obelisk, and the additional space occupied is approximately 12,000 square feet. The erection of memorials to the dead and missing is the responsibility of the Commission, which is, I understand, bound by its charter to commemorate individually in this or similar manner all who have fallen in the war.

Mr. Medland

Will my hon. Friend give us an assurance that before these proposals to increase masonry at Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth are decided upon, local authorities will be consulted and consideration given to a better method of commemorating our dead than by erecting masonry?

Mr. Michael Foot

Will my hon. Friend agree that a further suitable way of making this commemoration would be for the Government to restore to the people of Plymouth Drake's Island, which was stolen from the people of Plymouth by some Government Department or other about a couple of centuries ago?

Mr. Dugdale

That seems to be entirely another question. The question of my hon. Friend the Member for the Drake Division (Mr. Medland) about the general question of the erection of war memorials is a wider matter which comes under the Imperial War Graves Commission rather than the Admiralty. Questions connected with it could, therefore, best be addressed to the Secretary of State for War, who is chairman of that Commission.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Is the hon. Member aware how strong the feeling is in Plymouth that there are already too many monuments of this kind? Does he realise how unfortunate it would be if discontent was created locally over such a matter as the commemoration of the dead?

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