HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 cc1340-1
18. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will now make regulations raising the age of soldiers in respect of whom commanding officers should inform the next of kin when they are missing.

Mr. Profumo

I am examining this question.

Mr. Yates

I appreciate the Minister's Answer, but will he bear in mind that parents of soldiers aged 18, 19 and 20, particularly if they are serving overseas, feel that the military authorities are the guardians of their sons, and feel great distress when they are not informed for four or five months?

Mr. Profumo

I wholly recognise what the hon. Member says. That is why I am examining the matter. But the case which he has in mind was a very exceptional one. It is very easy for us, sitting here, to condemn the decisions of the man on the spot. I am convinced that the regulations as they are cover the sort of point that the hon. Member has in mind.