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Personal Case

Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 11 June 1958

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asked the Secretary of State for War what report he has received concerning the sudden death of Lance Corporal Derek Redman on Christmas Island on 7th May; why diabetic fever was officially notified as the cause, since he was passed as fit on 5th May; why he was buried at sea within 10 hours; how far he had been connected with the group of scientists concerned with the nuclear test explosions on the island a few days previously; and whether this was at his own request.

My right hon. Friend has received reports from the task force and from the medical authorities of the Royal Air Force who care for soldiers on Christmas Island.

Lance Corporal Redman was found unconscious in his tent on 6th May. He was suffering from diabetes of sudden onset and great severity, and he died in the R.A.F. sick quarters early next morning. There had been no sign of serious illness when he was treated for a minor ailment on 4th and 5th May. I am advised that severe diabetic cases of this kind are not unknown, although they are comparatively rare.

Lance Corporal Redman was buried at sea in accordance with Standing Orders because there is no consecrated ground on Christmas Island.

He had been employed in charge of a power station. His work was not directly concerned with the nuclear test explosions except in so far as all members of the task force were contributing to those tests. My right hon. Friend has had the most careful inquiries made, and I can reassure the House that there is no medical connection whatsoever between this soldier's death and the nuclear test explosions.