HC Deb 07 May 1996 vol 277 c21W
Mr. Alfred Morris

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department has evaluated about the recent plundering of graves of British service men killed on the Somme and at Ypres in the first world war; what action he is taking; and if he will make a statement. [27931]

Mr. Soames

My Department deplores the desecration of previously unidentified war graves, wherever they may be discovered throughout the world. Individuals are expected to respect all past battlefields, which may be the last resting place of so many, and not to disturb them.

Where human remains are found, it is the responsibility of the individual to inform the local authorities who, in the case of remains dating back to either of the two world wars, will collaborate with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The commission, in turn, will arrange for a suitable military funeral in one of its military cemeteries, as close to the original burial site as possible. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is aware of the content of the article published in the Sunday Times for 28 April and has confirmed that appropriate action has been taken.