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Karachi troop-train disaster

05 August 2016

August 4th, 1916

IN THE House of Commons on Tuesday the Secretary of State for India made an important announcement respecting the Indian troop train disaster at Karachi. A thousand or more unacclimatized troops were sent by rail in the middle of summer through the Sind desert. Packed in stifling railway carriages these unfortunate men suffered untold misery, some dying and many affected with sunstroke. Responsibility for this deplorable business has been fixed by the Government of India on three persons, the Acting Quartermaster-General, the General Officer Commanding, and the Director of Medical Services at Karachi: the first, because he neglected to warn the Karachi military authorities to take special precautions for the safety of the troops; the second, because, being the Embarkation Officer, he ought to have made proper provision for the troops; and the third, because he ought to have taken every precaution suggested by medical science for the safety of the soldiers, and failed to do so. The three officers in question have been dismissed from their posts, with the concurrence of the India Office, but certain others also blameworthy have been let off punishment on the ground of their inexperience. We fear that, when the Mesopotamia and Gallipoli scandals have been investigated, even worse horrors will be brought to light.


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