HC Deb 06 July 1920 vol 131 c1244W

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT asked the Secretary for War whether his attention has been called to a statement in the Press on the 13th June, made by Captain H. Wyndham, that in Cologne there is a huge accumulation of bulging sacks crammed full of comforts which were intended for prisoners of war in Germany; that half the things were rotten and mildewed and a large proportion stolen; who was responsible for sending these articles; and why they were not distributed to the men to whom they were sent?

Mr. CHURCHILL: The distribution of comforts for British prisoners of war was undertaken by the Central Prisoners of War Committee, but the German authorities were responsible for the actual delivery of the parcels. The parcels were addressed to individual prisoners at their camp addresses, except the large supplies of "emergency" parcels, intended for prisoners whose addresses had not been received or such as were on transfer, etc., and these were sent to the Presidents of the British Help Committees in each camp. I understand that on the whole the parcels were well distributed, but, of course, there were instances of nondelivery due to a variety of causes. My attention had not previously been called to the statement referred to in the question and I am not aware of the facts. A report has, however, been called for, and I will write to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as it is received.