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Airman's Death, Weeton (Inquiry Report)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will institute an inquiry into the circumstances which led to the death of 2503875 A.C.2 Raymond Lewis at the Royal Air Force Station at Weeton, Lancashire, on 13th February, particulars of which have been sent to him.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st March, 1951; Vol. 485, c. 2408] circulated the following information:

On the morning of Tuesday, 6th February, 1951, Aircraftman Lewis reported sick complaining of a sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. The Medical Officer prescribed treatment and placed him on light duties for four days. Aircraftman Lewis was given a form telling him to see the Medical Officer again on the morning of Saturday, 10th February. On each of the subsequent four days Aircraftman Lewis reported to the Medical Inspection Room for treatment and attended lectures.
Despite the instruction to see the Medical Officer again Aircraftman Lewis did not report sick on the normal sick parade on the morning of 10th February and paraded with his comrades for training. During the morning, however, he complained to his N.C.O. that he felt unwell and, although he said he did not feel ill enough to report sick, he was ordered to do so by the N.C.O.
At Sick Quarters the normal sick parade had been completed and Aircraftman Lewis was seen by a medical orderly. He said he felt fit apart from weakness about the knees, and did not feel ill enough to want the Medical Officer. He was advised to return to his hut and to go to bed, and to send for the medical orderly if he felt worse.
On Sunday, 11th February, Aircraftman Lewis remained in bed until 11.00 hours. He later complained to his companions in the hut that he felt ill and told them that he intended to report sick next morning. At approximately 14.00 hours two of his companions reported to the Senior N.C.O. in charge of the Flight that Aircraftman Lewis was ill and the N.C.O., finding him lying on top of his bed fully clothed, immediately informed Sick Quarters. An ambulance was sent at once and he was removed to hospital where the medical officer found that he had all the symptoms of advanced pneumonia. Continuous treatment was given which at first resulted in some slight improvement but at approximately 19.00 hours in spite of every care the patient became rapidly worse and died at 19.30 hours. No criticism or blame can be attached to any person on the strength of R.A.F. Station, Weeton.