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Soldier's Death, Malaya (Information)

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 20 July 1954

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90.

asked the Secretary of State for War the circumstances in which T/22789685 Lance-Corporal Brian Jefferies was killed by accidental shooting in Malaya on the night of 5th May; why the commanding officer was not permitted to disclose details of the case; if he is aware of the additional distress and anxiety caused to the parents of this soldier for more than two months by the absence of any information from the War Office concerning the loss of their son other than a formal notification of his death; and whether he will re-examine the method by which the parents of serving soldiers are notified in cases of this sort, with a view to avoiding such delay in future.

I now have the court of inquiry proceedings and I am arranging for a more detailed report to be sent to the parents at once. I am also writing to the hon. Member. I fully realise the anxiety of parents and can assure the hon. Member that in more normal cases full information is given very early. I am going into the question as to whether even in abnormal cases of this sort the procedure can be expedited.