HC Deb 17 October 1916 vol 86 cc429-30W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the prisoners of war belonging to Irish regiments at present confined at Drinovitza, Bulgaria, have not received any boots or clothing either from the British Government or from their own regimental prisoners of war fund, to which they subscribed every week whilst they were at home, although the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, the Norfolk Regiment, and the Hampshire Regiment prisoners at the same place have all received boots and clothes of some description; that, apart from some underclothing received by some of them through the kindness of the Irish Women's Association, the Irish prisoners are unprovided for, and the majority of them are going about barefooted and naked, some without jackets, others bareheaded; that these Irish prisoners are the men who bore the brunt of the fighting in Serbian Macedonia; and whether he will take immediate action to deal with this state of affairs?


That prisoners of war of certain units interned in Bulgaria are better off than others as regards clothing had not been brought to the notice of the War Office. Arrangements were initiated in June last through the American Embassies concerned for the dispatch of clothing in bulk, but these have, unfortunately, not proved a success, notwithstanding all the efforts made by the American representatives. A letter was recently circulated to all regimental aid societies and similar bodies embodying information as to the articles which should be sent to individuals and recommending the best method of dispatch according to latest information.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the hardships to which the British officers who are prisoners of war at Panitcherevo, Stara-Zagora, Bulgaria, are subjected; and whether he will take immediate steps to improve the conditions of their imprisonment?


As the result of an attempt to escape, the British officers, prisoners of war in Bulgaria, were transferred from Philippopolis to Sevlievo. We have recently heard that they have now been sent to Stara-Zagora, a change which is likely to signify an improvement. We have no information as to any punishment having been inflicted on these officers. We are, however, making inquiries on the subject. Such steps as are possible have been and will continue to be taken to improve conditions.

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