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Deserters (Surrender)

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Defence whether he can now give final figures of the number of deserters who surrendered in response to his recent appeal; how many still await trial; and in how many cases family allowance has not yet been issued to their dependants.

The number of deserters who surrendered between 22nd January and 31st March is:

Royal Navy378
Royal Air Force299
Of these 13, 612 and 119 respectively are still awaiting trial, primarily because of the large number who surrendered in the last few days of March. I regret that no figures are available to answer the last part of the Question, but I have no reason to suppose that there has been any delay.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in many cases the dependants of those who have responded to the appeal are kept waiting for two months and more for the issue of family allowance?

I have not heard of a single case, but I am sure that my Service Minister colleagues will go into any case which is brought to my hon. and gallant Friend's attention if he would notify them.

Can my right hon. Friend say how many of these men are still at large, and in view of the present disturbing growth of violent crime, will he take all possible steps to round them up?

Some 700 to 800 others have in fact been apprehended during the period covered by my answer and, of course, when the total figure was given to the House some time ago it was pointed out that it was impossible to say with regard to some of them who or where they are. Some may have died in the meantime.