Casualties, Korea

Oral Answers to Questions — Armed Forces – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Air Commodore Harvey:

asked the Minister of Defence the latest figures of British casualties in Korea.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

The total British casualties sustained in the Korean operations up to midnight, 20th January, were 139 killed or died of wounds, 416 wounded and 258 missing. I am sure the House would wish to join with me in expressing the deep sympathy we all feel for the relatives of these men. I will, with permission, circulate a detailed state-ment in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Air Commodore Harvey:

The right hon. Gentleman has said nothing about British prisoners of war. I assume that he has not received the information. Will he tell the House what representations he has made to get information on this very important subject?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

The missing, of course, includes the prisoners-of-war figure. Unfortunately, we do not know any more details than that. As I told the House yesterday, we have very little information and very great difficulties in getting information from the North Korean authorities.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Does that mean that the Minister has no information that any single one of the missing are prisoners of war?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

I should want notice of that, but we have very little.

Photo of Captain Robert Ryder Captain Robert Ryder , Merton and Morden

Has our Chargé d' Affaires in Peking been directed to take this matter up on the spot?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

I understand that the position is that the only authorities who will make any statement are the North Korean authorities, and they have stated that they are abiding by the Geneva Convention.

Photo of Brigadier Sir Otho Prior-Palmer Brigadier Sir Otho Prior-Palmer , Worthing

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the United Nations Forces are supplying the North Korean authorities with lists of prisoners captured by the South Koreans or the United Nations Forces?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

I understand that that is being done.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the figures he has been given include British volunteers for Red Cross stretcher work, who have been captured during these operations?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

I should like notice of that.

Photo of Sir Godfrey Nicholson Sir Godfrey Nicholson , Farnham

Has the Government been in communication with the International Red Cross authorities asking them to set up an organisation in that part of the world to trace prisoners?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

The North Korean authorities have been pressed to allow the Red Cross representatives access to prisoners of war, but without success.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

By the United Nations authorities.

Following is the statement:

NavyArmy
OfficersRatings and Other RanksOfficersOther Ranks
Killed1171084
Died of Wounds1125
Wounded44626340
Missing12614217
ROYAL AIR FORCE—Nil