HC Deb 06 December 1955 vol 547 cc41-2W
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.

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.

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