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Storeman, Brancepeth Camp (Charge)

Volume 462: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War how Gunner A. E. Green of the 45th Field Regiment, R.A., gained entrance to the armoury at Brancepeth camp, County Durham, on 17th December, 1948, and became possessed of two revolvers and a large quantity of ammunition.

As the noble Lord has been informed, this soldier's position as storeman gave him easy access to the arms and ammunition. The full inquiries which have been made show that no contributory negligence can be attached to any person or persons.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, having obtained these two revolvers and some ammunition, this man proceeded to shoot another soldier in the back and kill him; that at his trial he was found guilty but insane; and that it was said in his defence that he had been in an hysterical and unstable state of mind for several months past? Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that he was a proper person to be in charge of a store?

There was no evidence of insanity in this man's case in our possession when he was acting as storeman. If there had been any such evidence, obviously he would have been transferred or removed entirely. However, as I said, there was no evidence to that effect.