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Battle Hill Range (Accident)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the parents of the soldiers injured by an explosion at Battle Hill, Bowes, on 8th April were not notified until 48 hours after the occurrence, but that they first learned of it through the wireless; and what steps are being taken to ensure that parents are informed immediately such accidents occur.

Three of the soldiers injured in this accident were placed on the dangerously ill list on admission to hospital and their next-of-kin were notified immediately by telegram. The next-of-kin of four other soldiers who were not seriously injured were notified in the usual way by the hospital authorities by letter.None of the names was released to the Press by the War Office before confirmation that the next-of-kin had received their notifications, but a broadcast report, based on local information, gave the names of three of the soldiers, who were not seriously injured, before their next-of-kin got their letters.

Normally, whenever a soldier is dangerously or seriously ill, the precautions taken both by the War Office and the British Broadcasting Corporation ensure that his name is not released until the next-of-kin has been officially informed.


asked the Secretary of State for War if the inquiry has yet been held into the accident at Battle Hill, Bowes, on 8th April when one soldier was killed and six injured; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. A court of inquiry has been held into the circumstances of this most regrettable accident which occurred during the collection of expended rockets from the Battle Hill Range. I do not think that I ought at this stage to go into further details, since disciplinary action is now being considered.