HC Deb 26 February 1957 vol 565 c156W
75 and 76. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) what steps he took to check with British firms of undertakers his figure of £110 for an oak coffin and metal lining in the case of the body of Private G. Elvins; how many firms were asked to quote for the work of repatriating this soldier's body; whether he accepted the quotation of a British firm; and whether he accepted the lowest quotation;

(2) why, when listing the costs of repatriating the body of 23178973 Private G. Elvins, he quoted £75 for an oak coffin and £35 for a metal lining when the cost of these items in this country would not be more than a total of £35.

Mr. J. Amery

These estimates were given by a reputable British private firm of undertakers in Gibraltar. Time did not permit of the calling for tenders. In the circumstances we could only pass them on to the parents of Private Elvins. This is the first occasion on which the body of a soldier has been brought home from Gibraltar, and we therefore had no standards of comparison. Costs in this country are in any case unlikely to be a reliable guide to fair prices abroad.

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