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Troopships (Medical Officers)

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1949

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10.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether medical officers are carried on all troopships, including those from the Continent to Harwich.

No medical officer is provided, in peace-time, on cross-Channel voyages. A nursing orderly travels on cross-Channel ships to render first-aid only. On all other troopships a senior medical officer is provided.

16.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there was a medical officer on the staff of the s.s. "Vienna" on 8th February, 1949.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the very distressing case of the 16-year-old band boy who was coming home on leave from Austria and died within a few hours of reaching his home, who in his dying statement said that he had reported to the medical officer on this ship and been told to wait till he got home; would my right hon. Friend appeal to anybody, officer or other rank, who saw this boy on this vessel to come forward so that the matter can be investigated further?

I regret this incident, but in fact the band boy did not report sick before leaving his unit; neither did he report to the medical orderly on the troopship or at Harwich. In fact, there was no medical man on the ship, so far as I am aware—certainly not officially.

The Question only asks whether there was a medical officer on board, and has nothing to do with the boy.