HC Deb 22 January 1957 vol 563 cc15-6W
100. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the circumstances of the death of Second Lieutenant Anthony Moorhouse of the West Yorkshire Regiment in Port Said.

Mr. Hare

On the morning of 11th December, Second Lieutenant A. G. Moorhouse of 1st Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment, visited the area in which a patrol had been carried out in Port Said on the previous evening. According to an Egyptian witness, he was alone in a vehicle and stopped to speak to an Egyptian; a crowd assembled and one man seized the officer's pistol. Moorhouse was then abducted in a civilian car. He was not again seen alive by any member of the British forces, but there was a report on 22nd December that Major Wiks, a Norwegian officer of the United Nations Force, had been taken blindfolded to a house and had seen him alive and well.

On receipt of the contradictory information that Second Lieutenant Moorhouse was dead, urgent representations were made to the United Nations to obtain the true facts, and on 31st December, the Secretary-General of the United Nations received a report, originating from the Egyptian Army authorities, that Moorhouse after capture by Egyptians was kept with the intention of exchanging him for some Egyptian "resistance" prisoners. The report continued that when British troops began combing the area he was locked in a small metal cupboard; his captors returned once to feed him but, as the search intensified, they felt it unsafe to return and he was left for two days; on return they found him dead, apparently from suffocation, and buried him in the house where he had been kept prisoner.

On 4th January, a representative of the United Nations organisation handed over at Naples a body which was said to be that of the officer. An examination of teeth, scars, measurements, etc., established beyond doubt that the body was that of Second Lieutenant Moorhouse.

I know that I speak for the whole House in expressing sincere sympathy for the family of this young officer in their loss. In particular, I regret the uncertainty about his fate which continued for so long in spite of all our efforts to obtain the true facts from the Egyptian authorities.