§ Mr. Paget
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that broadcast communiqués announcing casualties have omitted the words "next-of-kin have been informed," and that this is causing grave anxiety to relatives of troops in the area; and whether he will ensure that all information of this nature given by his Department to the British Broadcasting Corporation contains this phrase.
§ Sir A. Bossom
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he will ensure that in all cases before the announcement of casualties the next-of-kin are informed; and that all such announcements released to the Press and the British Broadcasting Corporation contain the statement that "next-of-kin have been so informed";
(2) whether he is aware that distress has been caused to relatives of serving soldiers by the issue by his Department of inaccurate reports of casualties where no names are given; and whether he will take immediate steps to prevent these occurrences.42W
§ Mr. Head
I much regret the distress that is caused by these Press announcements, but the Government have no power in peace to prevent them. Notifications to next-of-kin are normally sent within twenty-four hours, and the official communication to the Press is then made and contains the statement that "the next-of-kin have been informed." I would like to appeal to the Press to save relations anxiety by waiting for these official communications.