HC Deb 01 March 1955 vol 537 cc254-5W
103 and 104. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) why, when a National Service man dies in Germany, he can only be brought home to be buried in his own country at his family's expense;

(2) why the parents of 23036498 William Laffin, Manchester Regiment, who died in Germany last Sunday, have had to pay £90 cost of transport from Germany to have him buried in England.

Mr. F. Maclean

It has for many years been the custom in the Services for those who are killed or die abroad to be buried where they die. In war-time no exceptions are made to that rule, but in peacetime relatives may have a body brought home for burial from most overseas stations if they so wish and are willing to meet the expense themselves. I regret that public funds can meet no part of the cost, which may be considerable. We do, however, make arrangements on behalf of relatives when we are asked to do so, and British Railways help to keep down the cost by charging reduced rates for rail movement in this country. For these reasons, the parents of Private Laffin were called upon to bear the cost of bringing his body from Germany. Movement was by commercial means, and the amount charged in such cases is outside our control.