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Armed Forces: Casualties

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 February (HL13095), whether a Fatal Accident Inquiry was carried out into any of those deaths; and if so, which.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

There was a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) carried out following the crash of a Chinook in June 1994 on the Mull of Kintyre which concluded it was impossible to establish the exact cause of the crash.

Since the formation of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Inquest Unit (DIU) in 2008 there have been no FAIs. Before the formation of the DIU, Inquests were dealt with by the individual Services (Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force), the DIU does not have access to any records that may have been retained from this period. It is, however, unlikely that these records have been retained under the MOD records retention policy which is normally five years from date of opening.

We have held discussions with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service (COPFS), to determine if there any other FAIs have been held. COPFS have advised it is not possible to confirm how many FAIs have taken place into military deaths in Scotland since 1990. The COPFS database is based on individual specific information i.e. name, date of birth, date of death and not on occupation. It is not searchable on occupation and we are advised that any search would also return deaths of individuals from natural causes, which could amount to many hundreds of records and would need to be manually searched. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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