HL Deb 05 July 1881 vol 263 cc2-3

asked the Under Secretary of State for War as to a statement appearing in the morning papers that at the Review at Aldershot yesterday two men died from the effects of the heat, while two more were not expected to survive, and a number of others were admitted to the military hospitals suffering from the effects of the heat. He would be glad to hear any facts with regard to the matter, and any explanation of how it was that the troops were exposed several hours to the greatest heat of the day.


My Lords, I regret to say that a certain number of men who took part in the Review at Aldershot yesterday were subsequently admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of the extreme heat, and no fewer than four have since died. This is a very sad occurrence. The Secretary of State for War, on hearing of it this morning, telegraphed to the General commanding at Aldershot for information. We have not yet received as full information as we could wish; but if my noble Friend will repeat his Question on Thursday I shall probably be able to answer it satisfactorily.


My Lords, I was actually present at Aldershot yesterday, and I had no idea that anything of the kind had occurred. I was so astonished when I heard of it, that I did not believe a word of it. When I came home from Aldershot, everybody said—" What a dreadful day you have had!" I said—"No; it was warm, but not unpleasantly warm." I asked my Staff, who gave the same answer. It certainly was a very hot day, but there was a very fair breeze on the hill, and it only became unpleasantly warm as I came towards London. I have certainly been out at field exercises 50 times on much hotter days, and I can assure your Lordships that there was nothing unusual in the weather, and as for falling out, I never saw so few men fall out on a field-day. There was no review at all; it was a simple field-day. The troops were ready to advance when I arrived, and the whole of the affair was over in a short time. There was no standing in the sun for a long period. The troops only marched past on their way home, and did not even come round again. I never was so surprised in my life, and I do not see how these accidents could be prevented.