HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 cc198-9W
Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the annual expenditure in dollars on United States defence equipment and cancellation costs for each of the last four years; and what is the estimated expenditure for 1968–69, 1969–70 and 1970–71.

Mr. John Morris

The following is the information:

a low level training sortie from Akrotiri in Cyprus. A Royal Air Force Board of Inquiry was immediately set up and visited the scene of the accident.

The aircraft virtually disintegrated on impact and the burnt wreckage was scattered over a wide area. This made identification of the remains of the three members of the crew extremely difficult. Italian legal requirements meant that a full investigation by an official Italian pathologist should be carried out before the remains could be taken out of the country. Our Embassy in Rome was informed that this investigation might take a considerable time to complete. Representations were immediately made and have continued to be made through our Embassy in Rome and the Foreign Office in order to try to speed up these investigations, and we believe that they are now approaching their final phase.

The delay in completing the funeral arrangements is obviously deeply distressing to the relatives, but we are in constant touch through our Consul with the Professor who is in charge of these very difficult investigations. There will be no delay in carrying out the reverent disposal of the remains, in accordance with the wishes of the next-of-kin, as soon as the investigations of the Italian Authorities are complete and we are allowed to do so.