HC Deb 22 July 1947 vol 440 cc119-20W
33. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for War if he can now state when facilities will be available to enable relatives of deceased Service men to visit graves overseas.

Mr. Bellenger

The recommendations of the inter-departmental committee which was appointed to examine this matter have now been considered and it has been decided to approach certain voluntary organisations with a view to instituting a scheme for providing limited financial assistance from public funds for visits by near relatives in necessitous cases. It is also hoped to simplify arrangements for passports. I would emphasise, however, that it would not be right to hold out any hope that a scheme can be introduced this summer.

71. Commander Maitland

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider introducing a simpler and more human form of words and a less stereotyped arrangement on the official forms which he uses to notify relatives of men killed in the war of the position of their graves.

Mr. Bellenger

These notifications are already made in letters which are in "semi-official" form, in order to avoid the severity and formality of an official letter. I hardly think the wording could be simpler. It is true that the letters are prepared on partly printed forms. That is because at times the numbers which have to be sent out unfortunately run up to a high figure, which has reached 2,500 a week. Only a very small number of complaints has been received about the form of the notification, which I do not think has generally added to the distress which must naturally be felt by those who receive it. In a matter of this kind, however, I am always prepared to consider suggestions, and will see whether at the next opportunity of introducing a change some improvement can be devised.