HC Deb 25 October 1949 vol 468 c1149
37. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Secretary of State for War why the Union Jack has been hauled down at 12 cemeteries in Germany where 21,500 British casualties of the last war are buried.

Mr. Shinwell

British war cemeteries in Germany have now been handed over to the Imperial War Graves Commission. The Commission, who represent all parts of the Commonwealth, do not fly flags in either 1914–18 or 1939–45 war cemeteries, save on ceremonial occasions. It would be impracticable to provide the guards that would be necessary if flags were flown, as there are well over 1,000 cemeteries in Europe alone. Furthermore, while the land in most cemeteries has been set aside in perpetuity for use as a cemetery, it remains legally the property of the nation in whose territory it is situated. The Commission cannot make an exception to the general rule solely in the case of British cemeteries in Germany.

Mr. Bramall

In view of the strong anti-British feeling that there is in Germany, will my right hon. Friend assure the House that these cemeteries will not be handed over in any way to the care of the German authorities?

Mr. Shinwell

They are in the care of the Imperial War Graves Commission.