§ Mr. McNamara
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of each of Her Majesty's armed forces have died through parachute accidents in(i) Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) Germany and (iv) other overseas postings in each year since 1990; and what rule procedural changes have been brought about as a result of Board of Inquiry reports. 
§ Dr. Moonie
Since 1990, 11 members of the armed forces have died as a result of parachuting accidents. To ensure that Service personnel confidentiality is not compromised, it has been necessary to group the data by cause and year, and by location and year, in the following tables:
Deaths due to parachute accidents by location: between 1 January 1990 and 15 November 2002 Great Britain Overseas Royal Navy 1 0 Royal Marine 0 2
Deaths due to parachute accidents by location: between 1 January 1990 and 15 November 2002 Great Britain Overseas Army 1 5 RAF 1 1 Total 3 8
No deaths have occurred in Northern Ireland or Germany.
Deaths due to parachute accidents by year: between 1 January 1990 and 15 November 2002 All deaths 1990 1 1992 1 1994 1 1995 1 1996 2 2000 2 2001 1 2002 2 Total 11
Boards of Inquiry into military parachuting are conducted by the RAF, who have responsibility for conducting and regulating all military parachute training by members of the armed forces.
There have been six completed Boards of Inquiry into these deaths. One Board of Inquiry is not yet complete, one death is pending a decision as to whether a Board of Inquiry is appropriate and the status of one is unknown. As two deaths involved personnel who were parachuting while off duty, Boards of Inquiry were not conducted.
The following procedural changes have been introduced as a result of these Boards of Inquiry:(a) Pre-sortie briefings given to the safety boat personnel have been amended to be more specific on the recovery of parachutists from the water.(b) Regulations and advice governing carriage of knives by parachutists and safety boat personnel have been amended.(c) Regulations have been amended to make it mandatory for all parachutists using square parachutes to carry hook knives.(d) Regulations governing the preparation of the parachutist's personal weapon have been amended to reduce the possibility of rigging lines snagging on the weapon.(e) Pre-descent briefings to parachutists have been amended to include an explanation of the reasons for adopting a good position on exit from the aircraft.(f) Pre-descent emergencies briefing to parachutists has been amended to include actions to be taken in the event that the handle, which cuts away the main parachute and activates the reserve, becomes dislodged from its retaining pocket on exit from the aircraft.(g) Guidance on writing air instructions has been amended to ensure that instructions reflect the full nature of the activity to be undertaken.(h) Syllabus of training and pre-descent emergencies briefing to parachutists have been amended to warn parachutists that the harness may ride up on deployment of the main parachute.(i) Syllabus of training and pre-descent emergencies briefing to parachutists have been amended to instruct parachutists to make visual identification of main parachute cut-away pad and reserve parachute handle before cutting away the main parachute and operating the reserve.(j) The incident reporting system was amended to fall under the auspices of the Inspectorate of Flight Safety (now Defence Aviation Safety Centre).181W(k) Syllabus of training and pre-descent briefings to parachutists have been amended to include action to be taken on encountering turbulence close to the ground.(l) Pre-descent emergencies briefings to parachutists amended to include the possibility of turbulance when winds are at the higher end of the permitted range.(m) Syllabus of training and pre-descent briefings to parachutists amended to emphasise the minimum operating height of the handle, which cuts away the main parachute and activates the reserve, through better use of visual stimuli.
Financial year Naval Service officers Naval Service other ranks Army officers Army other ranks RAF officers RAF other ranks Officer total Rank total Total 2001–02 219 1,973 543 4,982 275 1,740 1,037 8,695 9,732 2000–01 167 1,327 531 5,311 241 1,690 939 8,328 9,267 1999–2000 238 1,676 442 5,314 213 1,757 893 8,747 9,640 1998–99 164 1,706 509 5,947 243 1,742 916 9,395 10,311 1997–98 170 1,754 458 5,744 216 1,555 844 9,053 9,897 1996–97 136 1,877 373 5,851 192 1,526 701 9,254 9,955 1995–96 118 1,404 353 6,513 167 1,838 638 9,755 10,393 1994–95 95 1,087 254 6,377 141 1,432 490 8,896 9,386 1993–94 47 1,328 191 5,571 178 1,273 416 8,172 8,588 1992–93 146 1,548 319 7,490 288 1,791 753 10,829 11,582 1991–92 209 2,289 590 8,740 293 2,632 1,092 13,661 14,753 1990–91 254 2,919 704 10,811 332 3,250 1,290 16,980 18,270 1989–90 233 2,654 769 12,058 400 3,891 1,402 18,603 20,005 1988–89 209 2,118 691 11,641 359 3,276 1,259 17,035 18,294 1987–88 203 2,454 723 10,610 336 2,264 1,262 15,328 16,590
There is no single reason why individuals decide to leave the services and reasons are not necessarily the same across all three services, but some common reasons can be gleaned. These are as follows:
- Current and future job satisfaction;
- Wish to take up another career;
- Better employment opportunities outside;
- Family stability;
- Promotion prospects;
- Separation from family.
For the Naval Service from the Ratings Notice Giving Survey 2001–02, the following are the most common reasons listed in order of importance as to why people leave the service:
- The desire to live at home;
- Wish to take up another career;
- To marry/raise a family;
- Ability to plan long term;
- Time spent on mundane tasks;
- Level of job satisfaction experienced;
- Extent of family disruption;
- Pay in general;
- Always intended to leave after a number of years.
The Army routinely carries out a survey of leavers. The six most frequently cited reasons for leaving the Army given by leavers are identified below.
- Lack of job satisfaction;
- Amount of separation from spouse/partner;
- Better civilian job opportunities outside the Army;
- Effect of the Army lifestyle on marriage/relationship;