HC Deb 09 July 1906 vol 160 cc500-1
MR. LEIF JONES (Westmoreland, Appleby)

On behalf of the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what has been the result of the investigations he instituted into the circumstances of the march of the first brigade of the Buffs from Lydd to Dover, which was alleged to have resulted in several casualties of a serious nature. † See (4) Debates, clix., 374.


The report of this case which has been received shows that the man who died in Dover hospital from valvular disease of the heart on April 11th did not march with the detachment, but was sent from Lydd to Dover by train on the 10th. The marches were as follows: April 10th, Lydd to Shorncliffe 16 miles. Halts of 5, 10, 10 and 20 minutes respectively. Weather cool, N.E. wind. No men fell out. April 11th, Shorncliffe to Dover Citadel. Left Shorncliffe 8.55 a.m., arrived Citadel 12.15 p.m., distance about 9 miles. Hales of 5, 10, 10 and 5 minutes respectively. Weather hot and close, S.W. wind. A private fell out near Dover Rifle Range after descending a long decline, and was sent in by a cart to Station hospital, Western Heights, where he died the following morning. He had two years' service, had never served abroad, had done the previous day's march without apparent fatigue, and had not complained of feeling unwell before starting. The General Officer Commanding is of opinion that the marches were mot of excessive length, that they were carried out at the pace laid down in Regulations for large bodies of troops, that the halts wore amply sufficient, and that care was taken that the men obtained food and refreshment on the march. The conclusion to be drawn is that the man referred to died from the effects of the abnormal heat wave, to the effects of which he had a predisposed susceptibility. This is the opinion of the Army Medical Officer and is borne out by the fact that no other men of the detachment fell out except one man with the baggage guard. Two men also reported sore feet the following day, but none of these went to hospital. I am satisfied that the officers of this battalion and the army medical officers were not in any way neglectful of the comfort and welfare of their men, and I much regret that the unfortunate death of this young soldier should have given rise to the exaggerated reports in the Press that two men had died as the result of the march, that numbers of men had fallen out, and that there were numerous sufferers in hospital.