HC Deb 24 May 1944 vol 400 cc752-3W
Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for Air the number and ranks of R.A.F. personnel included in the exchange of prisoners of war carried out last week.

Sir A. Sinclair

Full details have not yet been received. Such information as is available suggests that the number of R.A.F. personnel included in the exchange is 33.

Mr. Neal

asked the Secretary of State for War if repatriated prisoners of war are eligible for service overseas; and, if so, under what conditions.

Sir J. Grigg

Under the Geneva Conventions prisoners of war may be repatriated either if they are seriously ill or seriously wounded and are recommended for repatriation by a Mixed Medical Commission, or if they are protected personnel (e.g., in the R.A.M.C). Most of the former are discharged from the Army on medical grounds. If they are not discharged, they are employed in administrative, training or other non-operational units in this country. The latter may be employed in a theatre of war overseas if they are medically fit for such employment, provided that they are not employed in a combatant capacity. So far as prisoners of war and protected personnel repatriated from Italy are concerned, the surrender of the Italian Government and their subsequent declaration of war on Germany has rendered inapplicable the restrictions imposed by the Conventions on their future employment, and these men may be employed in any capacity and in any theatre of war for which they are medically fit.