HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc171-3W
105. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is yet in a position to announce either a speeding-up in the direct repatriation of prisoners of war in North Africa, or a scheme for bringing them to this country with the object of including them in the release arrangements already made for their fellow countrymen.

Mr. Bellenger

I hope that from the beginning of July the rate of repatriation will be accelerated to 5,000 a month. Any scheme for moving prisoners to this country for inclusion in the repatriation arrangements here would only result in delaying their repatriation instead of accelerating it.

132. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for War how many prisoners of war are now in this country; how many have been repatriated; how many have been transferred from Canada and elsewhere and whether any are still to come; how many of these are between 14 and 18 years of age; what is the incidence of sickness; and, in view of the effect of protracted imprisonment on morale, whether the present rate of repatriation will be substantially speeded-up in the near future.

Mr. Bellenger

There were 355,224 prisoners of war in this country at the end of December. 60,668 have been repatriated since the scheme began on 26th September last year. Since' that date 4,221 have been transferred from Canada and none from elsewhere. There are no more to come. Regarding the age of prisoners of war I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 29th October, 1946. The incidence of sickness is one per cent, or under. In the immediate future repatriation will continue in accordance with the programme laid down by His Majesty's Government.

138. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps are being taken to induce German prisoners of war in Britain to defer their repatriation.

Mr. Bellenger

As the hon. Member was informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour on 19th November, German prisoners of war are normally given the opportunity, when their turn for repatriation comes, to defer their repatriation for six months, but no inducements are offered them to defer.

Mr. Byers

asked the Secretary of State for War the rate per month at which it has been possible to repatriate German prisoners of war from this country, up to the last convenient date.

Mr. Bellenger

Repatriation under the present scheme started on 26th September, 1946. The following numbers have so far been repatriated:

26th–30th September 2,418
October 14,803
November 15,429
December 14,236
1st–25th January 13,782

The monthly average is 15,167.