HC Deb 11 December 1950 vol 482 cc101-3W
48. Major Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will publish a list of British citizens known to be held against their will by any Communist-dominated country which is a member of Cominform, giving details of date of arrest and stating whether the Governments in question have given permission for these persons to be visited by relatives, the British consul or British officers.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Following is the list, which includes only those cases where we have conclusive evidence of detention.


The Soviet authorities have admitted detention of three British soldiers in Germany. These are:

(1) Private F. W. J. Kelly, 133, Parachute Field Ambulance, who was arrested in September, 1946, and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for alleged espionage. His Majesty's representatives have not been able to obtain permission to visit him.

(2) Private D. Eggleton, 1st Manchester Regiment, who has been absent from his unit in Germany since October, 1947. The Soviet authorities admitted in February, 1948, that they were detaining him, but have never granted facilities to His Majesty's representatives to visit him.

(3) Private A. Baker, 2nd South Staffs. Regiment, who has been absent from his unit since December, 1947. The Soviet authorities admitted his detention in February, 1948; but no satisfactory reply has been received to repeated requests for facilities to visit him.

In addition to these three cases:

(4) Major R. J. Squires, R.A.E.C., has been absent from his unit in Germany since September, 1947. There is reliable evidence that he was detained by the Russian authorities at Schwerin, but inquiries as to his whereabouts and requests for permission to visit him, have met with no satisfactory response.


(5) Mrs. Blakeley, a British subject present in Poland at the outbreak of war, was arrested soon after the termination of hostilities. Inquiries by His Majesty's Embassy in Warsaw have produced no information as to her whereabouts, or the circumstances of her arrest.

(6) Mr. C. H. Turner (a former Air Attaché at His Majesty's Embassy, Warsaw);

(7) 2nd Officer H. Upperton, and

(8) 3rd Officer G. Elmes were all arrested on 17th May, 1950, for allegedly attempting to smuggle a woman out of Poland. They are still held by the Polish authorities, who gave permission for the British consul to visit 2nd Officer Upperton and 3rd Officer Elmes on 6th December.

(9) Mrs. Halina Firth, a British subject of Polish birth, was arrested on 13th May, 1949, and sentenced on 9th March, 1950, to three years' imprisonment for sheltering an escaped prisoner. She has been visited in prison by the British consul.


Dr. Pinkas, employed for many years as a clerk at His Majesty's Embassy in Prague, and granted British nationality early in 1950, was arrested on 25th May, 1950, on a charge of being concerned in activities against the State. The Czech authorities have denied that Pinkas had ceased to be a Czech citizen, despite documentary evidence of his release from Czechoslovak nationality, and the British consul in Prague has been refused permission to visit him.


Mr. E. Sanders, of the Standard Electric Company, was arrested on November 22nd 1949, and sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment for alleged espionage on 21st February, 1950. His Majesty's representatives have not been allowed to visit him.