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Detention Barracks, Wahnerheide

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 28 April 1954

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asked the Under secretary of State for Air whether the court of inquiry into conditions at Wahnerheide is being held in public; whether the result will be made public; whether evidence will be heard from former Royal Air Force personnel who served at the camp; and by whom and where the inquiry is being conducted.

Courts of inquiry under the Air Force Act are not held in public, nor are their proceedings published. This is to ensure that all concerned can speak freely and, if need be, criticise fearlessly. This particular court of inquiry is being held in Germany. The President is a group captain, and the members a wing commander and a flight lieutenant. Evidence is being taken from members of the Royal Air Force who are, or have been, responsible for the unit or on duty there. I propose to make a statement on this whole matter when it is no longer sub judice.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the conditions which have given rise to this inquiry have been going on at this place for a number of years, and will he try to take evidence from people who were present at this detention barracks when they were in the Services but who are now civilians and can there fore speak freely, and who may be able to make a contribution to this matter?

Of course, we took evidence from members of the staff and others who were there at the time, but evidence from ex-prisoners was covered by the courts-martial which were recently held.

If I send the hon. Gentleman evidence from a person who is now a civilian but who was on the staff at that station two years ago, will be give it consideration?