HC Deb 15 July 1875 vol 225 cc1474-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, If he would state to the House the number of officers who have died since the 31st October 1871 to the end of June 1875, and whose money has been lost to their families and retained by the Government; and, if he can state to what purpose that money has been applied?


Sir, on the abolition of Purchase, as I understand it, the House granted a certain sum of money to be appropriated to the officers who had purchased their commissions upon the same terms as they would have received under the system of Purchase. Under the Purchase system an officer dying lost the money which otherwise his representatives would have obtained, and the circumstances, therefore, remain entirely unchanged, for the Army Purchase Commissioners are not entitled to pay any portion of the money in respect of commissions except in cases where the officer is living six weeks after his application. I believe that 183 officers have died between October 31, 1871, and the end of June, 1875, and of these 170 held saleable commissions. The outside regulation value of their commissions was £243,600; and this—or a smaller—sum of money, was lost to the families who would have been entitled to the money had the officers survived the six weeks. The money, however, has not been "retained by the Government." It was not voted by Parliament, for it was calculated that a certain number of claims would lapse owing to the deaths of officers within the six weeks. In a few cases in which the officers have survived the six weeks their families have received the value of their commissions.