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Wednesday, 26 May 1915

Mr SPENCE (DARLING, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Postmaster-General) - In answer to the honorable member's questions, the following information has been supplied by the Department of Defence: -

1.   Upon receipt of the official information from this Department of a soldier being wounded seriously, or dangerously ill or wounded, the next-of-kin shown on the soldier's records is entitled to three free cabled inquiries asking for reports as to the progress of such soldier. This procedure has had to be modified by the elimination of the concession in regard to " wounded," in consequence of Egypt advising that they are unable to cope with such messages without unavoidable delay and unsatisfactory results, as the casualties arc distributed all over the Mediterranean and Egypt, while many are in England. Dangerously ill are cabled from the hospitals concerned, bence inquiries can be expeditiously dealt with. In the absence of further reports regarding wounded, it is to be assumed satisfactory progress is being maintained.

2.   Instructions have been issued to telegraph offices- that, upon the production of the official telegram from this Department, a " free " telegram is to he sent to the Defence Department asking for progress to be ascertained. No private message to the soldier concerned is to be embodied. This is now to apply to serious or dangerous cases only, and instructions are being issued accordingly - this new procedurehas been promulgated in the press.

3.   See replies to 1 and 2.

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