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Soldier's Death, Austria

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 10 April 1951

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement about the circumstances of the death of 14444957 Corporal Dennis Marsden, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who was found drowned at Klagenfurt, Austria, on 24th March.

I have called for a very full report on this matter and will write to my hon. Friend immediately it is received. Meanwhile, I should like to offer my deep sympathy to the soldier's relatives.

Is the Minister aware that this man was missing for six weeks without any information being given to the relatives at all, and that they were not consulted as to the manner or matter of his death; and is it not a fact that a great deal of gruesome detail was circulated in the Yorkshire Press at a time when the relatives were completely in ignorance of the details of the case? Will my right hon. Friend undertake to see that in future, in matters of tragedy such as this, his Department act with a little more humanity?

I think the overseas command concerned would say that it was as usual, the difficulty of being sure that any information was correct before they gave it, because this was a mysterious case of disappearance. I have written to them and taken up several matters with them on which there may have been some fault.