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Training Exercises (Fatalities)

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Armed Forces have died in exercises in each of the last 10 years; whether he will undertake an investigation to determine whether the training is unnecessarily hazardous; and what steps are taken to prevent unnecessary loss of life.

The following table shows the numbers of deaths of members of the Regular Armed Forces which were attributable to accidents—excluding flying accidents—occurring during the course of trainine:

197014
197120
197212
197316
19749
197516
197611
197710
197824
197921
These include deaths which occurred during exercises, but figures relating solely to exercises are not separately identifiable. If the Armed Forces are to perform their roles effectively, whether in peace or war, they must undertake realistic training and because of the nature of these roles this often involves some degree of risk. However, such training is limited to what is strictly essential and is also subject to stringent safety rules. In the event of a serious accident a thorough investigation is carried out and if there are lessons to be drawn the necessary action will be taken. Accordingly, I do not consider that there is any need for a more general investigation.