HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc1028-9
5. Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

asked the Secretary of State for War what sums the Imperial War Graves Commission have asked to be paid by the next-of-kin of those buried in cemeteries under their control, as a contribution towards the cost of engraving the headstones to be erected.

Mr. Head

The Imperial War Graves Commission have not at any time asked the next-of-kin to contribute to the cost of engraving, or erecting, headstones on war graves. The next-of-kin have the right to choose a personal inscription, in addition to the name and service particulars, to be engraved on the headstone. In order to meet the desire of many relatives to have a personal share in the Commission's work of commemoration, an opportunity has been given to them to contribute up to £1 towards the cost of engraving this personal inscription. As the Commission's letter to all next-of-kin explains, this is entirely voluntary, and if relatives do not wish to pay, the cost is borne by the Commission.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while that is so, grave misunderstandings have occurred because of the terms of the recent letter sent out by the Imperial War Graves Commission? Can he say whether a new version is now being sent out and, if so, whether it will be sent to all those who received the previous letter and who may be under a misapprehension concerning the facts he has stated?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir. A new letter has gone out and it now makes it abundantly clear that this contribution is entirely voluntary.