HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1474-5
3. Lieut-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for War what military punishment was imposed on a guardsman-in the Coldstream Guards fined at Woking magistrate's court on 2nd' December last for careless driving.

Mr. Head

On 31st October he was awarded seven days confinement to barracks for being involved in a traffic accident.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is it not really a scandal that after two consecutive nights of guard duty at the Bank of England this man should be expected to carry out normal day duties and, as a result, fell asleep at the wheel of a three-ton lorry? Would it not have been more appropriate for the commanding officer to have paid this fine and for this man not to have been punished twice for the same offence?

Mr. Head

It is customary for all London units to do day duty after a night's guard duty, which is one hour on sentry and two hours asleep. If that was not the rule, I do not know how the duty would be done. I am sorry for the man, but that has been the custom and it must remain.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the officer awarding the punishment was not aware at the time that the police were to prosecute? It was, therefore, hard luck on the guardsman to be punished twice, and would not my right hon. Friend consider paying the £2 from Army funds?

Mr. Head

What my hon. and gallant Friend says is perfectly true, but when the commanding officer found this out he sent an officer to the court to intervene to say that the soldier had been tried and given seven days' C.B., and that was taken into account by the court.

Mr. M. Stewart

But could not the Minister take some precautions to prevent

Unit Last date on which drafts joined units before proceeding to Cyprus Number in each draft
Regulars National Service men
1st Bn. Highland Light Infantry 7.1.56 17 43
1st Bn. Wiltshire Regiment 22.11.55 2 25
1st Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment 14–17.12.55 10 15
1st Bn. Parachute Regiment 10.1.56 22 15
3rd Bn. Parachute Regiment 11.1.56 20 7