§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether with regard to the case of the late Veterinary Captain Finlayson, who met with his death between the dates of his sending in his papers and of his name appearing in the Gazette, and having in view the fact that the gratuity of £800 to which he would have become entitled was thereby withheld by the Government, the Government would, allowing for the particular relief already granted, be prepared either to make this a case for special consideration owing to the painful and exceptional circumstances surrounding his death, to the deceased officer's excellent professional services; and, further, to his retirement being in compliance with orders received; or to so amend the regulations that in similar circumstances the gratuity should not be forfeited, the amended regulations being retrospective for this officer.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
These gratuities to officers are not rewards for service, analogous to the deferred pay of a private soldier. They are given on retirement to produce a flow of promotion. Some date must be selected as the date of retirement, and the one most fair in all cases has been found to be the date of approval by Her Majesty. Whatever date be appointed, disappointment and even hardship on surviving relatives must occasionally arise. The existing rule has been upheld for many years past by successive Secretaries of State, and Lord Lansdowne cannot undertake to alter it. In this particular case, in 1087 view of the distressed condition of Veterinary Captain Finlayson's parents, a compassionate gratuity has been awarded them from a small fund at the disposal of the Secretary of State for the relief of the necessitous relatives of deceased officers.
§ MR. PIRIE
May I ask you if the Government are aware that Captain Finlayson's parents do not intend to accept this compassionate gratuity in the hope that more justice will be done to them? Did not the Department contemplate paying the gratuity when Captain Finlayson was prepared to send in his papers, and would it not have been paid but for the officer's death?