Missing Personnel (Effects).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force. – in the House of Commons on 17th June 1942.

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Photo of Sir Herbert Butcher Sir Herbert Butcher , Holland with Boston

asked the Secretary of State for Air the manner in which his Ministry deal with the personal effects of airmen who do not return from operational duties?

Photo of Captain John McEwen Captain John McEwen , Berwickshire and Haddingtonshire

As the answer is long, and somewhat detailed, it is, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, being circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The duty of safeguarding the personal effects of officers and airmen of the R.A.F. who lose their lives is entrusted to committees of adjustment appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Regimental Debts Act, 1893. In this country, the effects are collected and listed at the officer's or airman's station and despatched without delay to a central depository. This is done whether the officer or airman is reported as deceased, missing or a prisoner of war. In the case of deceased personnel the effects are subsequently released to the person entitled to receive them; in that of missing personnel, they are normally retained until it is known whether the officer or airman is a prisoner of war or deceased. The effects of a prisoner of war are not released without his authority. In Commands overseas, the same principles apply except that the effects of missing personnel and prisoners of war are retained at the unit or by the local standing committee of adjustment. The effects of deceased personnel are normally returned to this country and stored until released to the person entitled to receive them unless the committee of adjustment, being in an area of operations, anticipates delay in communicating with the next-of-kin or finds the storage of effects impracticable when the committee may dispose of effects locally by sale reserving only articles of intrinsic or sentimental value.