War Graves (Relatives' Visits)

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1948.

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Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames 12:00 am, 20th January 1948

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to the provision of facilities for visits by relatives to war graves in Germany.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

As I said in reply to the hon. Member on 4th November, difficulties of transport and accommodation preclude any arrangements being made at present. I am, however, keeping the matter under review.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

Can the right hon. Gentleman not say something more definite? Is he aware that two and a half years have elapsed since the end of the war in Europe, and surely it has been possible to make some arrangements for these very necessary facilities in that time?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Apart from the difficulties of transport, accommodation and currency, I am bound to say, from my experience and observation recently in Germany, that much of the work in the cemeteries is not yet completed. I should prefer to see rather a better state of completion before coming to any definite decision.

Photo of Sir Martin Lindsay Sir Martin Lindsay , Solihull

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there are many cemeteries in France which are completed, and as it would be impossible to arrange for all the families to go at the same time, could not a start be made now in a small way?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I should like to assist in this direction. I would not place any obstacle in the way, but there are physical difficulties which, at the moment, cannot be surmounted.