§ LORD PORTSEA rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether any information can be given as to the position of a number of officers and men who were given leave to go to their homes in Jersey and Guernsey after the evacuation of Dunkirk and were taken prisoners while in those places by the incoming Germans and sent to concentration camps in Germany; and whether these officers and men are recognized as prisoners of war, and whether their families are eligible for all family allowances and other allowances and privileges; and to move for Papers.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I wish to move the Motion that stands in my name, and I wish first to ask my noble friend if the information contained in it, which I believe to be correct, is so, regarding the number of men who were left in Jersey and Guernsey to be taken prisoners of war, and how it came about that these officers and men, who had already fought at Dunkirk and been given leave, were not evacuated before the flag was hauled down. I should also like to know if their pay, family allowances and all allowances will be banked for them while they are prisoners of war, and if interest will be paid on such sums. I beg to move.159
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (LORD CROFT)
My Lords, my noble friend who tabled this question did not give me notice that he was asking the point with regard to how these particular men failed to be evacuated. I will certainly look into that matter, and see if I can give my noble friend any information on the subject. The answer to his question on the Paper is that six officers and seventy-eight other ranks who were in the Channel Islands at the time of enemy occupation have been reported to have been taken prisoner. All these men are regarded as prisoners of war, and their families are treated in exactly the same way as the families of other prisoners of war in respect of allowances. I am sure the noble Lord will realize, however, that these remittances cannot be made to wives or dependants in enemy occupied territory. In this connexion I would refer the noble Lord to my reply in this House on July 8 last, which explains the position in regard to allowances of those wives and dependants who are in enemy occupied territory.
Did my noble friend says that the Germans, as well as the War Office, were treating these men as prisoners of war?
§ LORD PORTSEA
My Lords, my noble friend's reply of 8th July did not altogether satisfy those who asked him the question, inasmuch as he did not make it quite clear that these allowances would be banked for those men who are prisoners. He did make it clear, however, that no interest would be paid on these sums. I would be glad if my noble friend could give us an assurance that these sums will be put to the names of the prisoners of war, for their families in the islands are now dependent practically on charity, and that charity will have to be repaid at the end of the war.
§ LORD CROFT
My Lords, perhaps with the leave of the House I may be permitted to read the words that I used on that occasion. They were as follows: 160As a special concession, however, it has been agreed that a grant at a lower rate than the normal allowances may be given, which, together with allotments from the officer or soldier, shall be banked until such time as it is possible to release the accumulated sum—in the normal event after the war. This grant is in fact not a current maintenance payment but a grant made to meet special circumstances.
§ LORD PORTSEA
My Lords, I beg to thank my noble friend, and I will be satisfied with his reply. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.