HC Deb 30 July 1946 vol 426 cc774-5
36. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has now received the report from Burma of the case of a soldier aged 19 years, of the 4th Borderers, Indian Division, formerly the South Wales Borderers, who died following disciplinary action of pack drill on or about VJ-Day; what the reason was for this punishment; why the death certificate stated spinal malaria as the cause; and whether pack drill as a punishment has now been prohibited in the Indian Army.

Mr. Lawson

A preliminary report has now been received. The soldier in question was awarded seven days' C.B. for absenting himself from a parade ordered by his commanding officer, but I am informed that there is no question of his having undergone any form of pack drill. I am still awaiting confirmation of the cause of death as recorded on the death certificate and I am at present unable to reply to the last part of the Question. As soon as the further information is available I will write to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Freeman

In the meantime, can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that pack drill has been abolished in the Indian Army as in the British Army?

Mr. Lawson

It has been abolished in the British Army, but I am not quite so sure about the Indian Army and will inquire into that.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there are any British units in the Indian Army? What are these Borderers? There are the South Wales Borderers and the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Border Regiment. There are no such things as Borderers.

Mr. Lawson

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will have to put that question down.