HC Deb 20 July 1960 vol 627 c463
1. Mr. Coulson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether a court of inquiry was held into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sapper John William Harrold on 26th April, 1960, whilst serving with 12 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, stationed at Wyke Regis, Dorset; and what was the report of the court of inquiry.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Hugh Fraser)

A public inquest was held at which all the military witnesses gave evidence. There was no separate board of inquiry.

Mr. Coulson

In view of the lack of direct evidence as to the cause of the injury which resulted in the death of Sapper Harrold and the uncertainty and anxiety felt by the widow and relatives of the deceased man, does my hon. Friend think that a further investigation by the investigation branch of the Army could elucidate some facts to give some help and assistance to the next of kin?

Mr. Fraser

I have full sympathy with the next of kin, but when there is a sudden death in the Army in this country it is investigated precisely as it is in civil life. The civil police deal with the matter and there is an inquest, as there was in this case. I understand that the whole matter was sifted by the police and the coroner.

Mr. Ede

Can the hon. Gentleman say what was the verdict of the jury at the inquest?

Mr. Fraser

It returned an open verdict.