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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Mr MORGAN - Is the Minister for the Army aware that during certain monoeuvres of an army instructional school near Sydney recently, some soldiers were placed in boats and a charge of gelignite was exploded, which, not only blew up the boats, but also caused the death of a young man of 22 years and serious injuries to other men, one of whom had a family of five or six children? Will the honorable gentleman inform me whether these manoeuvres were really designed to give the men some experience of active service conditions, or whether the purpose of them was to boost certain officers? I ask that question because press photographers were present with the object of taking photographs for distribution throughout Australia. Will the Minister table a report in connexion with these particular manoeuvres? I understand that it is a { common practice to put gelignite close to 5 where troops are operating. Gelignite has been put in trees and in other places. Will the Minister consider whether it is desirable to continue this dangerous practice ?

Mr FORDE - Training of a realistic character is being done by the Australian Military Forces. I have not had a report of an incident of the kind referred to by the honorable member, although I have been told that an accident has occurred in one instance. I shall call for a report on the subject and give the honorable member further information when the report is received.

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