HC Deb 27 June 1950 vol 476 cc2086-7
34. Major H. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Guardsman Peter Youdale was put on a charge for fainting during the Trooping the Colour rehearsal on 29th May, 1950, and received punishment of five days' extra drill; and what action he proposes to take to ensure that fainting on parade ceases to be treated as a punishable offence.

Mr. Strachey

The hon. and gallant Member has been misinformed. While each case of fainting is investigated, no charge is preferred unless the man has fainted as a result of some action or negligence on his part which has rendered him unfit for parade. This guardsman was not guilty of such an act and was not put on a charge.

Major Johnson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this guardsman had to suffer five extra drills? If that was not a punishment, what was it?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. My information is that after this occurrence this guardsman took part in the drills of his unit, which he had not been doing because of other duties beforehand, but these were in no sense a punishment.

Mr. Snow

What happens to a mounted officer who is unseated involuntarily from his horse?

Mr. Strachey

There again, no blame is attached to the officer if it is not considered that it was his fault.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Ministers get unseated, too.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the Secretary of State aware that the country is prepared to leave this to the justice of commanding officers, and that this Question was really quite unnecessary?

Mr. Blackburn

Is it not almost inconceivable that fainting in any circumstances could be a crime under King's Regulations?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. King's Regulations do provide that if, in the opinion of the authorities, the fainting has been due to some negligence on the part of the man or the officer, then a crime might be committed, but this did not arise in this case.

Mr. Somerville Hastings

What conditions which could be prevented by the individual give rise to fainting?

Mr. Strachey

Three conditions have been given to me, one of which is being out late at night on the eve of the parade.

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