HC Deb 20 November 1997 vol 301 c243W
Mr. Bob Russell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide funds to support a memorial to commemorate allied service men who, while prisoners of war, died during the construction of the Burma railway; and if he will make a statement.[14490]

Mr. Spellar

The Government are very aware of the hardships and suffering endured by prisoners of war who were forced by their captors to build the Burma-Siam Railway during the Second World War.

While we have the greatest sympathy for those men and their families and acknowledge the need for remembrance and commemoration, it has been a long-standing policy of successive Governments that the cost of memorials is not usually met from public funds, but from private donations or public subscription.

The Ministry of Defence is, therefore, unable to assist with the funding of the memorial.

The organisers intend to site the memorial in Thailand and the Ministry of Defence would be happy to provide representation at any dedication ceremony, should the necessary funding be raised.

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