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Injured Service Men (Notification Of Next-Of-Kin)

Volume 718: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1965

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55 and 56.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what official notification was given to the next-of-kin of Craftsman Keats (R.E.M.E.) attached to the 15/19th Hussars that he had received burns and was detained in the British Military Hospital, Hanover, Germany;

(2) what are the arrangements for informing next-of-kin of British Service men if they are injured or taken ill on active service.

None, Sir. Serious illness or injury is notified to next-of-kin by the Service authorities, but in less serious cases, as in the case of Craftsman Keats, where a Service man is able to do so it is considered preferable for him to write to his family himself.

I thank my hon Friend for that reply, but does not he think that it is a serious situation, when a Service man is due home on leave, that the first notification which his next-of-kin gets is a letter from him saying, "Dear Mother, I am in hospital"? Will not he see that in future commanding officers are given instructions that the next-of-kin should be informed of illness or injury?

No, Sir. It is much less of a shock to a family if a man is able to write home himself and say, "I am in hospital, but I do not feel too bad", rather than to receive a notification from the unit or the Department which could not give any personal details.