Overseas Funerals (Attendance of Relatives)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree 12:00, 3 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are made for parents to attend the funeral of a son who dies when serving overseas.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The general rule is that only the next of kin and one companion may attend a Serviceman's funeral overseas at public expense.

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

The Minister is aware that the father of one of my constituents who died in Germany was unable to attend his son's funeral because he was not met when the train which he had been instructed to take arrived at Euston. Will the hon. Gentleman ensure that in similar unhappy circumstances the relative will be given a telephone number at which an official able to give advice can be reached?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

That is a good suggestion, and it will be ensured. I hope that the hon. Gentleman realises from the letter whioh he had from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Defence for the Army that the shortcoming in this case wat not the rules which govern the transit of next of kin; it was simply a breakdown in the arrangements, for which the Army and the Ministry of Defence are very sorry.

Photo of Mr Will Howie Mr Will Howie , Luton

Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that his hon. Friend is pursuing with diligence his inquiries with the Foreign Office into the case of Corporal Herbert, late of Luton, who was killed accidentally in Aden about three and a half years ago?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

That is an entirely different question.