HC Deb 01 February 1918 vol 101 cc1933-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he has now obtained the report as to the circumstances in which Private Charles Francis Davey, Reserve Battalion Grenadier Guards, was found with his throat cut at Chelsea Barracks on 28th December; whether he is aware that this soldier, on complaining to the medical officer of illness, was charged with malingering, given two days' C.B., including, in breach of the King's Regulations, two hours at a stretch punishment drill; whether he is aware that Dr. Spilsbury certified at the inquest that this soldier suffered from disease of the heart muscle, fatty de- generation, and atrophy; whether he can state why, in view of this verdict, the man was punished for pleading illness; and what action it is intended to take in respect of the medical officer in charge of Chelsea Barracks who signed the order for the man's punishment?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE For WAR (Mr. Macpherson)

Davie complained to the medical officer of "a touch of diarrhœa." Examination negatived this, and this opinion was confirmed at the post-mortem. Davie was reported for reporting sick without sufficient cause, and was given two days' "C.B." He did no punishment drill, and there was no breach of the King's Regulations. I am informed that when defaulters paraded Davie fell in with those who were going a route march. This was done in barracks in two spells of fifty minutes, with ten minutes' rest between. All marched at ease, and Davie carried no pack. This was the only work done by Davie that day. Davie complained of diarrhœa, and the medical authorities do not consider it probable that the medical officer could have diagnosed the condition of his heart, even if his attention had been called to it by a complaint from the soldier, and in their opinion no blame attaches to the medical officer. I understand from his commanding officer that Davie was treated by him with considerable leniency and consideration and received every attention from the medical officer throughout the time of his serving in the battalion.