HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 c33W
61. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence how many Service personnel have crossed over to the Soviet sector of Germany in the last three years; how many have subsequently returned; and the punishments to which those who did return were subjected.

Mr. Birch

Fifty-four Service men crossed over to the Soviet Zone of Occupation in Germany during the period in question and 43 have returned. In 13 cases no disciplinary action was taken. Six cases were summarily disposed of by the commanding officer. Twenty-four cases were tried by courts-martial resulting in 15 sentences of detention averaging 51/2 months and six of imprisonment averaging 21 months. One Service man was reduced in rank and one was severely reprimanded. In the single remaining case the soldier concerned was also convicted of charges under the Official Secrets Acts and other offences, and the sentence was 10 years' imprisonment.