HC Deb 04 April 1944 vol 398 cc1822-3W
Major Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many civilian refugees are in this country at the present time.

Mr. H. Morrison

I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend refers to refugees of foreign nationality.

The answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, on 7th April, 1943, to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for East Willesden (Mr. Hammersley) showed that the number of foreign refugees who were in this country at the beginning of the war, or had been admitted between then and the end of 1942, was approximately 150,000, adults and children. About 10,000 more (consisting mainly of volunteers for the Allied Forces) were admitted in 1943. No precise figures are available as to how many of this total of roughly 160,000 are now serving in the British or Allied Forces. Of the civilians it is known that about 11,000 men, women and children had emigrated by the end of 1943. About 3,500 men who were sent to Canada or Australia as internees are still there, having, for the most part, been released in those countries. An unknown number of refugee women have acquired British nationality by marriage; and there have also been deaths. The best estimate that can at present be made is that the total of civilian refugees (men, women and children) at present in this country is in the neighbourhood of 120,000, of whom some 20,000 are merchant seamen.