§ CAPTAIN CHALONER (Wilts, Westbury)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to the case of No. 4,443, Private Benjamin Ball, aged 62 years, who served 9 years 262 days in the Rifle Brigade, of which he spent one month at Malta, 13 months in the Crimea, including siege of Sevastapol, and two-and-a-half years in British North America, being eventually discharged as unfit for further service, and only received 6d. a day for two-and-a-half years; that, having endeavoured to earn a livelihood since his discharge, he is now certified as being totally incapacitated from earning a livelihood, owing to chronic bronchitis and lung disease; and that he has been refused any compassionate allowance on the ground that he 774 did not complete the necessary period of 10 years' service; whether it was through the exigencies of the Service and not his own fault that he did not do so; and, whether the Government will consider the advisability of considering this and all such cases on their merits, irrespective of the length of service?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. J. POWELL-WILLIAMS,) Birmingham, S.
There has not been time since the hon. Member addressed his question to the War Office to ascertain the facts of Ball's case, but, assuming that they are as stated in the question, Ball is not entitled to a special campaign pension as he did not servo 10 years. One difficulty in the way of removing the 10 years' limit is that it would give rise to a heavy additional charge upon the non-effective Vote, it being estimated that there are still over 15,000 soldiers with Crimean service alive; to pension all of them would cause a charge of nearly £250,000 per annum.