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Aircraftman's Death (Departmental Error)

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Air if he has now considered the details which have been sent to him concerning the treatment meted out to L.A.C. Streatfield, deceased; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. I am grateful to the hon. Member for bringing the sad case of L.A.C. Streatfield to my attention, and I should like to express my deep sympathy with his parents in the loss which they have sustained. The facts are as follow: L.A.C. Streatfield arrived from India on 7th of May. On 8th of May he was sent on a month's disembarkation leave. Ten days later he fell ill and his father called in a local doctor. On 21st of May, he was admitted to one of the civil hospitals of the Ministry of Health's Emergency Medical Service, where he died that night. The cause of death was malaria, from which L.A.C. Streatfield had previously suffered. Letters of sympathy were sent to the parents by Streatfield's commanding officer, and by the Air Council but, owing to a mistake in the Record Office, other units concerned were not notified of his death. In consequence, Mr. and Mrs. Streatfield subsequently received a notice of extension of leave, and a posting notice, and the civil police called to inquire why he had not rejoined his unit. Disciplinary action will be taken if individual responsibility for the error can be traced, and I will do everything I can to ensure that no such thing shall happen again.

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his full answer, may I ask him whether, in view of the inhuman treatment of the family, it is possible for him to write a personal apology to the parents?

I will certainly do as the hon. Member has suggested. These accidents in a big administration must happen, but this is the first of its kind there has been in the Air Force.