Missing Soldiers (Tracing).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 10th February 1942.

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Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

asked the Secretary of State for War what organisation now carries out the work of tracing missing British soldiers which, in the last war, was the duty of an inter-departmental committee under the Foreign Office; and to whom should relatives apply?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Denbigh on 19th December, 1941, in which full details of the organisation for tracing missing British soldiers were given. As regards the second part of the Question, there is no need for relatives to apply for inquiries to be set on foot. When a soldier is reported missing, a notification to his next-of-kin is sent out with a leaflet explaining the steps which are taken to trace missing personnel.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that this organisation is functioning properly, as numbers of relatives have to wait for months and months without getting information? Would he also say what is the function of the Red Cross Society in this matter?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

All that is set out in the answer to the previous Question. The Red Cross, of course, carries a responsibility. I am quite satisfied that the organisation is doing all that can be done in this matter.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Who is really responsible? Is it the Red Cross or a Department of the War Office?

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Why is the Red Cross meddling with it?