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British Army (Incident, Vienna)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 4 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any information relating to the attack upon Corporals Douglas Thomson and Ronald Hudson of the Northamptonshire Regiment in Vienna on Sunday, 28th March by Russian soldiers whereby the two corporals were knocked unconscious.

This incident occurred about 2.45 p.m. on Sunday, 27th March, in front of the Imperial Hotel, which is the Russian headquarters in Vienna, where there are two wooden barriers on the pavement. According to statements made by Corporals Hudson and Thomson, they had passed the first barrier, and on reaching the second were shouted at by the Russian sentry, who also appeared to beckon them towards him; they went back to the sentry, who hit Corporal Thomson with the butt of his rifle, at the same time calling out the guard; the guard, on being turned out, proceeded to knock down Corporal Hudson; the two then walked back to the N.A.A.F.I. Club about 100 yards away; they sustained only minor bruises and abrasions, and are both now back at duty.On the following day Major-General Winterton, Deputy British Commissioner, called on Major-General Tsinev, the acting Deputy Commissioner of the Russian element, and protested against the treatment of the British soldiers; he pointed out that if in the opinion of the Russian guard commander they had committed a breach of the peace he should in accordance with the agreed procedure have apprehended them and sent for the International Patrol. Major-General Tsinev alleged that the British soldiers had tried to knock down one of the wooden barriers and had then attacked the Russian sentry; he agreed, however, that the guard commander had acted incorrectly in not holding the men and sending for the International Patrol; he stated that disciplinary action would be taken.