HC Deb 23 January 1945 vol 407 cc661-2W
Sir J. Lucas

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is aware that Australian prisoners of war rescued at sea from Japanese captivity have been given the option of returning to civil life; and if he will give the same option to the British prisoners rescued at the same time;

(2) if he will see that any prisoners of war who have been rescued from Japanese hands shall have the strictest possible medical examination before being passed fit for overseas service, in view of the fact that many have contracted malaria and other tropical diseases.

Sir J. Grigg

The shortage of manpower does not, I regret, enable us to discharge returned prisoners who are found to be fit for further service. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that they all undergo a searching medical examination, and, where it is thought necessary, they are seen by a peychiatrist as well. I would also refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friends the Members for Down (Dr. Little) and Holland-with-Boston (Mr. Butcher) on 12th December.

Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give an assurance that none of the repatriated prisoners of war recently rescued from Japanese hands will be recalled for service without having passed a medical board and an examination by a psychiatrist.

Sir J. Grigg

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to-day to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Portsmouth (Sir J. Lucas).

Viscount Suirdale

asked the Secretary of State for War whether prisoners of war who have returned to this country after having escaped to a neutral country are now posted to theatres overseas; and, if so, what is the minimum period in this country allowed before such posting.

Sir J. Grigg

Prisoners of war who escape to a neutral country and are subsequently returned to the United Kingdom are liable for service in any overseas theatre provided that they are medically fit. Before being sent abroad they are retained in this country for at least six months.