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Volume 206: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1927

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of boys, second and first class, Royal Navy, at the training establishment, Shotley, who were admitted to sick-quarters and hospital suffering from rheumatism and kindred complaints during the years 1924, 1925 and 1926; and the number of boys and men under 21 years of age who have been invalided from the Royal Navy owing to rheumatism during the years 1925 and 1926?

The following numbers of boys, second and first class, Royal Navy, at the Training Establishment, Shotley, were admitted to sick quarters and hospital for "rheumatism" and kindred complaints:

In 192420
In 192511
In 192613
The information asked for in the second part of the question is not readily available and its compilation would involve an expenditure of time and labour which I think my hon. Friend would not consider justified in the circumstances.

Does my right hon. Friend not think that some investigation should be made of these cases of rheumatism among first-class boys?

They are kept under observation and the figures do not go to show that there is any increase.

Would it not be easy to ascertain how many men under 21 have been invalided as a result of contracting rheumatism?

I hope that the House will not insist on my giving these very detailed figures, which may cause an increase in the Estimates of my Department.

Is not this matter of such importance to the health of the men in the Royal Navy that we ought to have these facts and figures before us?

But we have a medical department who are very diligent in this matter, and there is no prima facie evidence that there is anything wrong.

Are we to understand that the medical officers are satisfied that there are no extraordinary circumstances causing this unfortunate disability?

I certainly imagine that that is so. I shall be only too glad to investigate these cases.

Will the First Lord say how many of these cases were invalided out with heart disease?