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Officer's Death (Notification)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1949

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he has considered a case, details of which have been sent him, in which the relatives of a naval officer read of his death on duty in a newspaper before they received the Admiralty telegram; and whether he will announce any new arrangement designed to prevent such an occurrence in future.

In the case referred to a telegram was sent to the next-of-kin at 8.30 a.m. on 4th November. It is regretted, however, that, owing to the absence all day of both parents, the name of the officer concerned was published in the evening papers before the parents' arrival home and their receipt of the telegram. For the purpose of preventing a similar occurrence, it has been decided that if the British Broadcasting Corporation or the Press ask the Admiralty for details of casualties during the day on which the next-of-kin has been informed, they will be asked to withhold publication until the following day. Although the Admiralty cannot prevent the names of casualties being obtained by reporters on the spot and published without reference to the Admiralty or local naval authorities, we hope that the Press will co-operate in the interests of the next-of-kin by adhering to the arrangements we have just described.

For this blood extracted at last out of a stone, may I express my acknowledgement and the hope that the other Services will follow the Admiralty lead?