HC Deb 30 November 1948 vol 458 c1803
35. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for War how many soldiers have deserted from British Forces in Germany and Austria since the occupation commenced; and how many are still at large.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Michael Stewart)

At 31st October 3,513 soldiers had deserted from British Army units in Germany since V.E. Day; 293 absentees and deserters were still at large. In Austria 286 had deserted up to 23rd November; 23 were still at large.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Can the hon. Gentleman say if the numbers of deserters are decreasing or increasing?

Mr. Stewart

If the hon. and gallant Member compares the answer which I have just given him with the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend on 24th February, he will see that, of course, the first figure is larger, because that is the figure of the total number of those that have deserted, but the number at large is decreasing.