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Stakehill Detention Barracks

Volume 415: debated on Tuesday 30 October 1945

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8.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will now make a statement on the recent fatality at Stakehill Military Detention barracks; and to what extent conditions there conform with the recommendations of the Oliver Report.

The proceedings of the military court of inquiry, together with the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief's recommendations, were forwarded by the Command concerned to the War Office on 25th October. These are now being examined. All recommendations of the Oliver Report have been put into effect at Stakehill.

How soon does my right hon. Friend expect that he will be able to make a full statement about this matter, which is causing a good deal of public anxiety?

:I agree, and I can understand that public anxiety in the circumstances. The matter is receiving my urgent attention and I hope to give a full statement to the House very shortly, but I wish it to be a thorough and comprehensive statement. Therefore, I am not inclined to hurry the matter too much.

:Are we to understand from the original answer, that the inquiry was conducted by a military court of inquiry? If so, does not my right hon. Friend recall that when I asked him a Question on this subject about a week ago, he assured me that the court of inquiry was not purely military but that other interests were represented on it?

I cannot recall offhand what that particular answer was, but I should be sorry if any mistake was made. This inquiry has been conducted by the General Officer in Command.

In connection with this very important matter, is my hon. Friend taking into consideration the evidence submitted to him by the Rev. Evans, a curate in the locality?

:All information and all evidence are taken into consideration. I wish to make it quite clear that it is the proceedings of the military court of inquiry which have been forwarded.

Arising out of the last reply, when the right hon. Gentleman said that everything was being taken into account, did that include a full report of the coroner's inquest, which was very exhaustive?

I should like to see that question on the Order Paper. I have already answered questions about the coroner's inquest.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the relatives of the deceased soldier were represented at the inquiry?

In order to give my right hon. Friend an opportunity of making the thorough and comprehensive statement which he agrees is desirable, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment on Wednesday of next week, 7th November.