HC Deb 18 November 1964 vol 702 cc66-7W
Mr. Charles Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the circumstances in which 4252471 S.A.C.2 J. A. Atkinson was detained by Cypriot civilian authorities on 31st October, 1964, and on the failure to communicate to his wife and next-of-kin early information of his subsequent return to his unit.

Mr. Millan

It has been reported that on Saturday, 31st October, Senior Aircraft man Atkinson was driving a private car off duty in Limassol which was involved in an accident which resulted in the death of a Greek Cypriot adult and injuries to a child.

As a result, Atkinson was taken into custody by the civil police and brought before the local magistrates on 2nd November, when he was represented by a civilian advocate. He was released to R.A.F. custody on 3rd November. He is due to reappear before the magistrates on 20th November when he is to be formally charged.

Senior Aircraftman Atkinson's wife is on holiday in England. When the Royal Air Force authorities obtained access to Senior Aircraftman Atkinson he declined an offer to inform his wife by telegram, saying that he wished to write to her. When he was released, a telegram explaining the circumstances was sent to the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association in London asking that the news should be broken to her gently. A representative of the Association therefore called upon her at her mother's home in Manchester on 4th November. I am informed by S.S.A.F.A. that their representative gave Mrs. Atkinson all the known facts, including the fact that her husband had been released and was in R.A.F. custody.