HC Deb 25 June 1883 vol 280 cc1410-1

asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to Appendix No. 33, in the Army Hospital Services Inquiry Blue Book, Whether the list of medical comforts there given, as received at Ismailia, and used on beard H.M.S. "Malabar" during the voyage to Portsmouth, re- presents the total amount consumed by the troops on beard that vessel, or whether such list was supplemented, or could have been supplemented, from the ship's stores; and, if not, whether, in view of the fact that all such medical comforts were finished by the time the "Malabar" reached Portsmouth, with the exception of a few ounces of brandy, it is considered that five bottles of brandy and the diminutive amount of other articles given in the aforesaid list constitute a proper and sufficient store of medical comforts for the use of over 200 sick and convalescent soldiers during a three weeks' voyage?


Sir, the form of the Return in Appendix 33 is somewhat misleading. It does not represent the provision of medical comforts made at Ismailia for the voyage, but is the medical officer's account of the actual issues made to patients out of the medical comforts drawn by him from the saloon mess of the Malabar. Such medical comforts could have been supplemented from the same source to any extent the medical officer might have required. The medical comforts shown in Appendix 33 are all which were consumed during the voyage. Although the amount may appear small, the medical officer shows in his evidence, Q. 10,133 and 10,134, that they were sufficient for the invalids under his charge, who were, for the most part, convalescents on fresh meat rations, and of whom 56 were disembarked at Malta.