HC Deb 26 March 1903 vol 120 cc376-404

1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,186,300, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expenses of Naval and Marine Pensions, Gratuities,, and Compassionate Allowances, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901."

MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)

said that two years ago the Government, for the first time, had accepted the responsibility and decided to give pensions to the widows of seamen and Marines who lost their lives in warlike operations, prior to which there was no liability; but the widows of men killed accidentally in the service received nothing from the State, whereas pensions were paid to the widows of naval and Marine officers who lost their lives in the service, whether in warlike operations or otherwise. The pensions paid to the widows of officers amounted this year to £134,500, and in addition there was a sum of £12,000 in compassionate allowances to their children. The pensions paid to the widows of sea men and Marines killed in warlike operations amounted to only £235. The widows of men killed otherwise than in warlike operations were relieved out of Greenwich Hospital Fund, which was not State money suplemented in the case of dramatic disasters, such as the loss of H.M.S.'Victoria'—by public benevolence. The allowance to widows paid out of the Greenwich funds was a paltry 3s. 6d. per week. He wished to know whether the State appraised a life forfeited in the service of the State during warlike operations at a higher value than the life, for instance, of a coast guard, who turned out, maybe, on a stormy winter's night to save life and lost his own in the endeavour. If that were so it was a most scandalous thing. He urged that the Admiralty should bring pressure to bear upon the Treasury to pay pensions to the widows of seamen and Marines, as well as to the widows of officers killed in the service of the State, whether in war or in peace. To support his contention he was fortified by the Resolution carried in this House in 1901, that the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Acts should, with modification, be applied to this class of public servants. He was informed that the outside charge on the Greenwich Hospital Fund payable to widows as pensions was £5,500, and that an additional 40 per cent. would cover the cost of the extension of the pension to those he had referred to, so that for £7,000 a year the Government could meet the legitimate demand he made. The cause was a just and worthy one, and should be recognised by the Government. He begged to move the reduction of the Voe by £100.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,186,200, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Kearley.)


said this part of the question was raised the other night, when he spoke at such length as he thought proper, and, therefore, it was unnecessary to again enter into the question deeply. It was, however, a matter in which he had been interested for some time, and about which he could not fail to feel strongly, representing as he did a naval district. Of all the questions which had been laid before him, and which made demands upon the Admiralty and Exchequer, there was none with which he had more sympathy and which, in his judgment, commended itself to the Committee more than this question of pensions. His hon. friend opposite had brought forward the question of the widows of seamen and Marines killed by accident or drowning, and had named various instances where life had been lost. He would like especially to allude to the case of the "Viper." The "Viper" was lost during the naval manœuvres. In the case of the naval manœuvres the ships, must necessarily undertake extreme liability, and even extra danger. There was no comparison between the Army and naval manœuvres. The hon. Member for Dumbarton had frequently conducted operations of troops in time of peace, and he would bear him out in saying that the troops might storm an impregnable position, make frontal attacks, and do anything they liked in time of peace without incurring any danger. But in naval operations the conditions were very different, for in naval operations they had to anticipate as far as possible all that would occur in time of war; they had to learn in time of peace what would happen in time of war; and to do that sailors and marines had to face perils which soldiers never had to undertake. In this case a ship was lost and men's lives were sacrificed, and the widows left a charge upon the country. But these widows were not charged upon the country at large, but upon the Greenwich Hospital Fund.

There was another instance. A few days ago a destroyer was going across the har- bour at Portsmouth, and by ill-luck ran foul of a wire hawser, and two men were killed; and here again was an instance of want of efficiency. The report of the Court-martial which he had read brought to light the fact that the telephone frequently worked wrong on board this boat; and that the man in charge of the telephone at that particular moment was a man who did not know how to work it. But the point which arose out of it was this—one married man was killed and one unmarried man. The relatives of the unmarried man received a gratuity while the widow of the married man received a pension from Greenwich Hospital. These pensions ought not to be a charge on this Fund The Duke of Edinburgh's Committee in 1885 laid it down that the funds of Greenwich Hospital ought to be devoted to old seamen, and that was the purpose to which the Fund should be legitimately applied. Only half the Fund, however, was devoted to that purpose, and the rest went to charges which reduced the amount available for its legitimate purposes. This charge for the widows and orphans of seamen killed by accident or drowning ought to be removed from the Greenwich Hospital Fund, and ought to be made a public charge, because, without entering into the history of Greenwich Hospital, it was never intended that this charge should be made upon it. This was not a new point, for twice during the autumn session he inquired whether this charge might not be transferred from the Greenwich Fund, and on the 18th December last the First Lord of the Treasury informed him that no decision had been arrived at at present, but he held out hopes that at an early date he might give a favourable decision to the effect that this charge would be taken off the Greenwich Hospital Fund. They were still waiting at the end of March for that decision, and he would like to ask whether any information had come to the Admiralty to take the step foreshadowed by the Prime Minister. This was a simple matter, free from difficulties. The charge should be removed from this charitable fund, and as matters stood he must support the Motion.

MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)

said the discussion was largely due to the fact that there was a sense of unfairness in the way pensions were administered. There was a feeling that officers were treated very much better than the ordinary seamen. There was a case mentioned in the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General which was a good illustration of what he meant. It was the case of a lieutenant of the Royal Marines who had retired on half-pay in March, 1869, after a service of four years and two months, in consequence of the report of his Colonel that he was extravagant, irregular, intemperate, and worthless as an officer. He died in April, 1901, and the Admiralty awarded a pension of £40 to his widow and a compassionate allowance of £10 per annum to his daughter. Article 2193 of the King's Regulations said that pensions should only be granted to the relatives of officers and men for good and faithful service rendered. The Comptroller and Auditor-General, in this particular case, invited an explanation from the Admiralty; and in reply was informed that the Lords of the Admiralty fully scrutinised the services of the officer and considered that he had rendered good and faithful service. He thought it would be clear to the Committee that if that were the principle on which pensions were given the complaints which were heard were justifiable. In other cases, where no complaint could be made against deceased seamen, the pensions awarded were small, paltry, and altogether inadequate.


said he was led to believe a few years ago that the Secretary to the Admiralty intended to take this matter up, but nothing had been done, and they were again brought face to face with what he called a gross injustice. Why should there be a distinction drawn between loss of life while on duty and loss of life in action? Where was the difference? He knew not. If a number of bluejackets on a gunboat which went down lost their lives, not in action, their widows would, forsooth, get a miserable pension from the Greenwich Fund of from 3s. 6d. to 5s., and for each child only 1s. 6d. The Greenwich Fund was not Government money at all; it was the growth of years from the savings of the bluejackets themselves. But if bluejackets were killed in action their widows would receive from 5s. to 10s., and each child from 1s. 6d. to 2s. What was the difference between the two cases? He had looked at the Estimate, and, although he did not want to use strong language, it appeared to him to savour very much of favouritism. He found that the widows of fifteen captains got £2,415, whereas the widows of twenty-one seamen and Marines only got £235. The whole list was unworthy of the greatness and generosity of this nation. They grudge nothing for repairs; but when it came to providing for the widow and orphan of the man who lost his life in the service of the country, they only gave 3s. 6d. to the widow, and 1s. 6d. to each child.

When the "Cobra" went down a fund was raised in Newcastle for the widows and orphans of the men who were lost, and several thousands of pounds were collected. The widows only got 3s. 6d. per week from the State, though he knew what the widows of others got. He appealed to the heart of every Englishman and Scotchman, and would ask was such treatment right and just? It was not. He found that 760 children of deceased Naval and Marine officers got £10,250, or an average of £13 each as a compassionate allowance, but there was no compassionate allowance for the children of deceased bluejackets. That pained him very much. What he should like to see would be the unification of the Greenwich Fund and the Patriotic Fund, in order that there might be plenty of money to provide pensions on a uniform basis; or, better still, let them put the pensions on the Votes. His contention was, that if a man were killed in the execution of his duty he ought to be looked upon as having lost his life in the service of his country just as much as if he were killed in action. In the merchant service, if a seaman was struck by a falling block and killed, his widow would be paid at least three years' wages, but if that happened to a bluejacket his widow would have to go on the Greenwich Fund, whereas if he were shot in action she would get from 5s. to 10s. He appealed to the Secretary to the Admiralty, as one who knew the Navy, to say whether that was fair or just. Again he would repeat that his contention was that there should be no distinction drawn when a man was killed on duty. That was the crux of the whole situation; and if the hon. member went to a division, he would, for the first time, vote against the Government on Navy Estimates as a protest against what he regarded as a gross injustice.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

said that the right hon. Gentleman had delivered a very excellent speech, which would appeal to them all. He thought, however, the hon. Gentleman was carried a little away by emotion, because he seemed to think that a sailor should run no risks in his profession. He was anxious to give everyone what they desired; but still the difficulty of raising money had to be taken into consideration; and when the Votes were increased they had hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House seized with a fit of economy. With reference to the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Ipswich, he thought the hon. Gentleman should have stated that that case had not yet come before the Public Accounts Committee. It would be considered by the Public Accounts Committee to-morrow; and he hoped that some answer would be forthcoming from the representatives of the Admiralty. If not, he trusted that stops would be taken to prevent what he might almost call a scandal. During the years on which he had been on the Public Accounts Committee a similar case had never come before him.


said he did not remember a similar case in connection with the Navy; but he did in connection with the Army. The hon. Gentleman was quite right in saying that the matter had not yet come before the Public Accounts Committee, he merely referred to the observations of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on the case.


said it was a very serious case, and one which ought not to occur For his own part, he hoped it would not occur again. Still, in this particular instance, he thought the Public Accounts Committee might be trusted to deal with the question.

MR. DUKE (Plymouth)

agreed with the appeal which was put forward from the other side that the wives and orphans of seamen who had lost their lives in the Service, when not engaged in warlike operations, should be treated in the same way as those who had lost their husbands and fathers in war. Steps might be taken to provide the necessary funds for the purpose without an irregular drafe upon the funds of Greenwich Hospital. Only last week a strong case was made out in the House for addition to the funds of Greenwich Hospital to meet the proper claims made upon it. He quite agreed with the hon. Member for Gateshead, that if a man was killed on service some provision ought to be made for his wife and children. He believed the owners of merchant ships generally were, as a body, prepared to meet that requirement in the case of merchant seamen, by falling into line with other employers in the country in the matter of insurance. He could not see why the Government of this country, which, although it was alleged to be temporarily hard-up, was really a flourishing and solvent Government, should not see its way, by some system of insurance, or by some reasonable provision, to mitigate the position of widows of bluejackets killed in the Service. What did it matter to the widow whether her husband was shot dead in action or fell from the mast-head. If he fell from the mast-head she had not the sympathy she would have if he met his death in action. The position of the widow of a man killed in the Service by accident was worse than the position of a widow who had lost her husband in action, because she did not receive the same sympathy and help. In the case of a widow whose husband was killed in action there was even a possibility that the Commissioners of the Patriotic Fund would find some means of doing something for her. In the case of a poor woman who found herself left destitute by her husband being killed by accident, there was no legal claim and not so much compassion He hoped the Government would see that they ought in that respect to be model employers. We expected a great deal from seamen, and professed to depend a great deal on their devotion, but we did not give so many practical tokens of our devotion or affection for them; and for his part he would prefer that some steps should be taken, and that seamen in the service should not only feel they were generously treated, but that the wives should not feel that when the husbands had lost their lives, and they and their children had lost their maintenance by an accident in the public service, nothing was done for them as a matter of right. He hoped the Secretary for the Admiralty would hold out some hope that this position would be considered. Perhaps something could be done in the way of making the Patriotic Fund applicable, instead of keeping it locked up or treating it as a sort of ignis fatuus to be pursued by hon. Members whose constituents had claims upon it. If some proper provision could not be made out of the Patriotic Fund we ought to have the patriotism to make the provision out of public moneys as a matter of justice.

SIR J. LENG (Dundee)

referred to the loss of lives in the "Condor." That, he said, was a vessel which was known before she was sent to sea not to be of a seaworthy type. She was known to be exceedingly cranky, and it was understood that her commander had made representations on the subject. She was, however, sent to sea; and after leaving port was never more heard of. There was a case of a gallant captain; a man of high character in the Naval service, with officers under him who were also of good standing, and a good crew. That vessel went to the bottom of the sea, and he would like to know why the men on board her, and their widows and children, were not as fairly entitled to pensions as if that vessel had been sunk by a shot from a hostile fleet. There was also the case of those torpedo boats which buckled at sea, and in which lives were lost. And there was also the case of men killed by guns bursting during practice. Several lives had been lost in that way. What was the difference to the widows and children whether the men lost their lives in that way or in a naval engagement? There was really no difference to the men's dependents and he thought they ought to be treated in precisely the same way. Though the mercantile Navy did not come within this Vote, he would like to make a suggestion which he tried to make some years ago. It would cost very little to shipowners if they insured the lives of their men who went to sea. At present the dependents of the men were entirely dependent on the generosity of the owners of the vessels. A very small sum was provided, in cases where there were total losses of vessels, for those who suffered by it. He hoped the Secretary to the Admiralty would treat this matter from an equitable point of view, and let them know what was the distinction between lives being lost at sea from accident or from the foundering of vessels in the Fleet, and lives lost in action.

MR. LOCKIE (Devonport)

asked the Government seriously to consider whether it was not right and just that the widows of men killed in the execution of their duty, whether in action or otherwise, should be treated in the most generous manner possible. With regard to the veterans he should like to say that it was a great pity that the Greenwich Fund, which did not fulfil the function originally intended on account of the drains made upon it, should have to meet the contributions for widows and orphans. A large number of men were entitled by their age to receive these Greenwich pensions, and did not because they were told that the amount at the disposal of the Commissioners was not adequate to the demand, but he did not think it was a question to be considered on that narrow basis. These men were induced to join the Service upon what they understood to be specific terms—that when they reached a certain age they would receive a certain pension. They were disappointed in this. He would therefore ask the Admiralty to seriously consider the question, not whether it was legal justice but whether it was not a national responsibility resting upon them.


said the question had been raised whether there should be a different value placed on lives lost in connection with the "Condor" and the "Cobra" and the lives lost in South Africa. He thought that question could hardly have been asked in any other way than pro forma, because he imagined that the hon. Member who asked it, like every one else, would give the Admiralty credit for having the same sympathy with the men who lost their lives in peace or in war. The position with regard to the pensions due to officers' widows was mainly a matter of previous arrangement between them and the State. The same rule applied to the men. He did not think the case had been put quite fairly by the hon. Member for Gateshead, whose eloquence had overpowered his reason. [Sir W. ALLAN: "Not a bit."] As to the difference between the risks of war and peace and the different treatment meted out to the widows, he would admit that he saw no difference; he quite admitted that. But it was in the question of distinction where the difficulty arose. It was said that this principle should apply equally to the Army and the Navy. Then why not the Post Office and the Police?


Civil servants get the advantages of the Employers' Liability Act.


said that might be so, but that did not alter his case. This was not a question merely for the Admiralty. If it were only a question of £7,000 a year it would be a comparatively small matter; but it was very difficult to draw the line. As to the question of establishing a statutory pension, placed upon the State, he must point out that it would be a matter of extreme difficulty to draw the line between deaths which occurred through Service causes and deaths which did not. In the case, for instance, of a man who caught cold on a field day and died within two years the problem would be extremely difficult. He was not trying to make out a case for denying relief, but he was trying to show that the question was a large one, which required a considerable amount of thought and attention. This was the cause of the delay which had occurred. He could not go behind the answer which had already been given when it was stated that the matter was receiving consideration. There was every sympathy for cases of hardship, but it had not yet been found possible to arrive at an absolute decision on the subject. With regard to the case referred to by the hon. Member for Ipswich, he said he did not believe the officer in question was retired on the grounds mentioned, but on reduction of establishment. That made all the difference. In cases such as that of the "Condor," the "Cobra," or the explosion in the "Mars," the widow of a sailor who had lost his life only got 1s 6d. less than was granted in connection with operations in war. In reply to the contention that an irregular use was being made of the Greenwich Fund, he said that under the original provisions governing that Fund one of its first objects was to provide pensions for widows. At present only £5,500 out of £198,000 was devoted to that purpose, which he did not think was an excessive amount, in view of the original destination of the fund. He hoped the hon. Member would recognise that the Admiralty was not wanting in sympathy with the object which underlay his Motion, and he could only repeat that the matter was under consideration.

MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

said this question had not been raised as a matter of charity. It had been brought forward on grounds of justice. He for one had never been able to see why the State should be put in a more favourable position than that in which it had itself put the private employer. It was a proper thing that employers of labour in mines, on railways, and in other hazardous occupations should have laid upon them the responsibility of providing compensation for accidents which occurred in the course of the employment. Two years ago the Government accepted a Resolution, moved by the hon. Member for North Monmouth, by which they under- took the respons bility of providing for workmen in their employ advantages similar to those granted under the Workmen's Compensation Act to workmen in ordinary employ, but as yet no conclusion had been arrived at. It was now proposed to distinguish between persons killed during time of war and those killed in time of peace. So far as the position of the widow was concerned, the suffering, hardship, and privation were just as great at the one time as at the other, and the Government ought to discharge the obvious duty of providing for these widows, even if the accident happened in time of peace. It was not sufficient to say that the matter was under consideration; the time had come for definite action, and he, at any rate, could not rest satisfied while the matter remained in its present position.

MR. SEELY (Lincoln)

said that, according to his recollection, it was quite understood at the time the Compensation Bill was under consideration that the Government would see that persons in their employ were treated as well as persons in civil employment. The question now at issue was a very small one from the point of view of the public finances. The sufferings to widows and children were just as great during time of peace as during time of war, while the chances of assistance from public funds were very much less, so that if any distinction was to be made he should be inclined to make more liberal provision for the sufferers by accidents in time of peace. Sufficient time had elapsed since the loss of the "Cobra" and the "Condor" to come to some decision. No one would accuse him of anxiety to increase the burdens of the country, but he certainly thought this was one of the cases in which economy was a mistake. It might be true that the people had no legal claim, but he thought the Admiralty would be well advised to consider, not how they could avoid doing it, but how they could arrange to give the same allowance to widows who lost their husbands in time of peace as was given to those who were bereaved in time of war.

MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)

said the precise terms of the Resolution to which reference had been made were as follows: That there is urgent need to extend the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, with appropriate modifications, to the naval and military servants of the State who may be killed or injured in the course of their employment. That Resolution was carried unanimously, and all expected to see it applied in a practical form to the most helpless classes of the community. It had boon said that these people had no real claim. At any rate, the passing of that Resolution gave them a Parliamentary claim, and the Government should be called upon to satisfy it. Common-sense and justice demanded that the men who entered the Navy, of which we were so proud, should be properly treated. There was no disposition on either side to reduce the Votes necessary to keep intact our first line of defence, but surely it was not a wise policy to refuse the application of the principle of compensation to the men who would have to defend our shores in time of trouble. The amount required would make no appreciable difference to the sum allotted to the Navy; therefore, as it was a question, not of sympathy, but of justice, he hoped the Government would give practical effect to the Resolution the terms of which he had read.


said it must be clearly understood that the widows of men killed in time of peace did get allowances, but not on so large a scale as the widows of men killed in time of war. In his position he was naturally disinclined to add anything, however small, to the burdens already borne on the Estimates. He believed that the amount involved was considerably more than hon. Members seemed to imagine, because if the view now pressed were acceded to it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to avoid extending the principle to other services. It went without saying that the case which had been presented excited the sympathy of every Member of that House, and all would agree that the object with which it had been brought forward was a very desirable one. He was bound, however, to protect the Exchequer as far as he could, but if hon. Members would accept his assurance that he would go very carefully into the matter—which as yet he had not been able to do—with a view to seeing whether the natural feeling which actuated them could be met, he was prepared to give that assurance.

MR. JOHN WILSON (Durham, Mid)

said that while all would agree that the keeping down of the Estimates was a very laudable object, there were directions in which economy should not be attempted, and he was unable to see why a distinction should be drawn between those who lost their husbands in time of peace and those who were bereaved in time of war. The amount of money involved in giving the extra 1s. 6d. asked for would not be a very serious matter, because, according to the Estimate for 1903–4, the pensions were to be paid to the widows and children of only twenty-one seamen and marines. What was likely to be the effect of such a discussion as this on the manning of the Navy? Young men, if they saw that this distinction was to be made in regard to their wives and families, would naturally be somewhat diffident about entering the Service. "Service" extended from the time a man signed articles until he left the Navy; it mattered not whether it was in time of war or in time of peace. He hoped the consideration the right hon. Gentleman had promised to give to the matter would result in these poor widows getting at least 1s. 6d. per week more than they were now receiving.

LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

expressed his surprise that the hon. Member for Lincoln should support this proposal. Whenever there was an opportunity of voting against any increase of the Estimates the hon. Member seized it; it therefore seemed hardly consistent that on this occasion he should urge the Government to spend more money. This question no doubt presented, primâ facie, a somewhat hard case, but if it was to be carried to its logical conclusion, the Employers' Liability Act would have to be extended to all Government employees. That might be a good or bad thing, but those responsible for the various services had to see how best they could get the men they required, and if they found they could best get them by offering higher pay without pensions, or compensation for accidents, they were justified in so doing. It must be a question of arrangement or bargain, and at present the bargain was that the same amount of pension should not be given to the widows of men killed in time of peace as was given to the widows of men killed in time of war.

SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

, said that in view of the Resolution unanimously adopted by the House two years ago, the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer merely to consider the matter was altogether inadequate. The House had unanimously decided that this principle should be applied, and now the noble Lord spoke as though this was something new to-night. If the statement just made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been made when this matter was first raised in the House, he should have recommended his hon. friend to accept it. As a matter of fact, to-night they were getting something less than what was promised them two years ago, and the Government seemed to have entirely forgotten and ignored that Resolution. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke of it as a new matter.


The Resolution is another question altogether, while this is a specific matter.


said the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not seem to remember the Resolution which declared that there was urgent need to extend the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, with proper modifications, to the Naval and Military servants of the State who might be killed or injured in the course of their employment.


But this is a specific point raised tonight. I mean the pensions of widows due upon the death of their husbands in time of peace. As I understand, hon. Members have been urging that the Exchequer should bear the cost of the 3s. 6d. which has hitherto been paid out of the Greenwich Fund.


said that so far as he could understand the right hon. Gentleman, his complaint seemed to be that the question had been argued as if it concerned one small portion of the general case embraced in the Resolution of the House of Commons. That Resolution more than covered this particular point. His point was, that this matter was settled two years ago, and the Resolution was unanimously carried by the House, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had just shown by his speech that the Government completely ignored that Resolution. They had never thought of it from that time to this, and it seemed now quite fresh to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury Bench, with the result that the Resolution had been completely ignored.


I think there has been no lack of sympathy shown with the views of hon. Members opposite upon his question and I should like, before this debate comes to a close, to explain this matter for the information of hon. Members who have not been in the House the whole time. There has been, in the first place, a suggestion which I should not like to go forward as being an accurate representation of the facts. It has been suggested in the course of the debate that the difference made between the sums paid to widows of seamen dying in action and the widows of seamen dying in Service, but not in action, is not observed in the case of the widows of officers. This suggestion is made in error. The distinction is made in the case of officers and men alike. It is also not the case that there has been any forgetfulness of the Resolution passed by the House of Commons; on the contrary, the words in the Resolution suggesting a consideration of the relatives of those in Government service losing life at sea has been given effect to, and it is an entire misconception to believe that those relatives of men who lost their lives at sea in peace time are not in receipt of any compensation at all.


We knew that at the time we debated the question.


Very well, then; clearly the issue is not whether we are going to apply the Workmen's Compensation Act to the sailors of the Royal Navy or not, but the question is whether the compensation now given is adequate or not. I appeal to hon. Members to pay some attention to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has said this matter is new to him, and that he desires to take into consideration the representations made to him this evening. As representing the Admiralty, I shall myself be ready to represent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there are some risks incurred by sailors in time of peace which so closely correspond to those which they run in time if war that it is difficult to find any distinction between them. I hope that the Committee will agree to the Vote on my assurance that I will represent with absolute conviction that such cases merit the favourable attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he undertakes his consideration of this question. I believe that in this direction we shall find the solution which the hon. Member for Devonport desires. I do not think that the Committee will desire me to go further and to commit myself to any general rule that every loss of life, directly or indirectly connected with the service at sea, should be regarded as loss of life which occurred in active service or in warlike operations. If hon. Members will accept that assurance from me, I

shall be satisfied, and I hope the Committee will allow us to take this Vote upon that assurance.

SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

said that they were all in sympathy with the objects which hon. Members opposite had in view, but he should be sorry if the matter was pressed to a division, because he thought that after the assurance given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary for the Admiralty it would be much better to accept those assurances and not have a division.


said he desired to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary to the Admiralty for the manner in which they had spoken upon this question, and no doubt they would give the matter their best consideration. He had no doubt whatever as to what would be the result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer giving this matter his consideration, and the only thing he was anxious about was that those widows should have this money. He did not care whether the 3s. 6d. came out of one fund and 1s. 6d. out of another, for all he was anxious about was that the amount should be made up to 5s. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer would find no difficulty whatever in the matter, and by doing this he could not be accused of wild extravagance for providing this small extra sum.

Committee divided:—Ayes, 61; Noes, 135. (Division List No. 43.)

Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.) Caldwell, James Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Allan, Sir William (Gateshead) Causton, Richard Knight Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Cawley, Frederick Duke, Henry Edward
Bell, Richard Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark Elibank, Master of
Black, Alexander William Crean, Eugene Fenwick, Charles
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Dalziel, James Henry Goddard, Daniel Ford
Brigg, John Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardign Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Broadhurst, Henry Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Hayden, John Patrick
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Rea, Russell Shipman, Dr. John G.
Helme, Norval Watson Reckitt, Harold James Soares, Ernest J.
Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Rickett, T. Compton Toulmin, George
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Rigg, Richard Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
Lambert, George Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) White, George (Norfolk)
Leng, Sir John Robson, William Snowdon White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Levy, Maurice Roe, Sir Thomas Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
M'Crae, George Rose, Charles Day Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Markham, Arthur Basil Runciman, Walter Wood, James
Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.) Russell, T. W.
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland) TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr. Kearley and Mr. Reginald Lucas.
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Schwann, Charles E.
Partington, Oswald Shackleton, David James
Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Shaw, Thomas (Hawich, B.)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon Pretyman, Ernest George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Goulding, Edward Alfred Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs Purvis Robert
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Groves, James Grimble Pym, C. Guy
Bain, Colonel James Robert Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx Randles, John S.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm. Rankin, Sir James
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Harris, Frederick Leverton Reid, James (Greenock)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hay, Hon. Claude George Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Bignold, Arthur Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.) Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge
Bigwood, James Henderson, Sir Alexander Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Bond, Edward Hoare, Sir Samuel Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Bousfield, William Robert Houston, Robert Paterson Round, Rt. Hon. James
Brassey, Albert Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)
Cautley, Henry Strother Kennedy, Patrick James Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isleof Wight
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop Simeon, Sir Barrington
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Smith, H. C. (North'mb Tyneside
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th) Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)
Chapman, Edward Lawson, John Grant Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand).
Clive, Captain Percy A. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Spear John Ward
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Collings, Right Hon. Jesse Lockie, John Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'rd Univ
Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.) Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Tuke, Sir John Batty
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Macdona, John Cumming Valentia, Viscount
Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Cranborne, Lord Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Webb, Col. William George
Crossley, Sir Savile Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)
Denny, Colonel Morrell, George Herbert Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Dickson, Charles Scott Morrison, James Archibald Willoughby do Eresby, Lord
Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C. Mount, William Arthur Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)
Doughty, George Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Muntz, Sir Philip A. Wilson John (Glasgow)
Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute Wolff Gustav Wilhelm
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Nicol, Donald Ninian Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Younger, William
Fisher, William Hayes Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Parker, Sir Gilbert
Flower, Ernest Parkes, Ebenezer TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Forster, Henry William Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Welleslev Sir Alexander Acland and Hood Mr. Fellowes.
Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Percy, Earl
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Platt-Higgins, Frederick

Question put, and agreed to.

Original Question again proposed.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

asked whether the pensions for good and meritorious services would be paid to the men when they retired, or whether they would receive them while on full pay. If given while the men were on full pay, would the pensions cease on retirement?


said the pensions for good and meritorious services in the Navy were given under the King's regulations. He understood that they were not drawn while the men were on full pay.


called the attention of the Secretary to the Admiralty to what he believed was a discrepancy in the different rates of gratuity for long service and good conduct as between Marines and seamen.


said he was not able to give the hon. Member that information at present, but he would inform himself on the subject.


asked whether it was the case that the pensions ceased on retirement.


said he desired to correct the answer he had just given to the hon. Member for Halifax. It was a fact that some of the officers who received pensions for good and meritorious services were on full pay.

MR. HERBERT SAMUEL (Yorkshire, Cleveland)

asked whether the Committee were to understand that the officers had no other sources of income except the amounts which were put down in the Estimates.


said these sums were additional. He was not familiar with the circumstances referred to by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, but he would look into the matter. Of course, whether the discrepancy which was stated to exist would be rectified would depend on the result of his examination.

2. £259,000, Medical Establishments and Services.


said they had heard a great deal this year from the First Lord of the Admiralty in regard to the training of the men of the Fleet. There was, he thought, one very important piece of training which had been altogether overlooked. He referred to the necessity of every man in the Navy being instructed in "first aid" to the wounded. He thought that if the Fleet came into action, in a very short time the decks of battleships and cruisers would be shambles, and he was perfectly certain that they would not have an adequate staff on board to deal with all the Cases which would require immediate attention. Judging from the practice in previous wars the doctors would be below carrying on, mainly, surgical work. It was most desirable in the interest of humanity that every man on board should be able to render first aid to the wounded. The very fact of how a man was handled after being wounded might make all the difference between his losing his life and being saved. There were doctors on board the Fleet and attached to the depôts and he did not think there would be the slightest difficulty in imparting to young sailors elementary instruction of the kind he proposed. He also suggested that the Admiralty should have a reserve of doctors who could be called upon in the event of war breaking out.


said he believed the intention of the hon. Member for Devonport was good, and no doubt there were certain men to whom his suggestion regarding instruction in first aid might be made to apply. The instruction could be given without any expense by the doctors on board the ships and at the depôts. The instruction, he thought, should be confined to those holding positions on board ship who could best be spared in action. He disagreed with the statement of the hon. Gentleman that the ships in war would be shambles. Everything in modern experience showed that that was not so, the ships and crews would be destroyed together. In the old days in naval warfare great damage could be inflicted on the personnel of the ships and the ships survive, but that was not the case now. The statistics regarding the war in which the Japanese Fleet was engaged not long ago showed that at Yalu there was enormous loss in the medical branch but when the details were examined it was seen to be due to a great explosion caused in a part of one ship. The suggestion that there should be a reserve of doctors was really a very minor matter. A large reserve of doctors was necessary for a military force, because the losses on land were largely due to diseases arising from insanitary conditions. In the Navy, war did not change the sanitary conditions, and so the number of doctors required could be easily estimated.


said that both matters had already engaged the attention of the Admiralty. The Admiralty were already arranging for a reserve of medical officers, and their efforts had met with a most gratifying response from the medical profession.

MR. GROVES (Salford S.)

said he wished to make a further suggestion with reference to the medical staff of the Navy. He believed that with regard to medical officers in the Navy, and especially those on foreign service, there was very great danger of their not being in that position of up-to-date knowledge which was so necessary for those who might have surgical work to perform. His suggestion was that medical officers in the Navy should go through a hospital course from time to time to make themselves acquainted with the latest surgical and medical practice, in which science was constantly introducing developments and improvements.


said that the hon. Member's suggestion had been anticipated by the action of the Admiralty. The sanction of the Treasury had been already obtained to a scheme by which each year fifty medical officers would take a post-graduate course in the medical schools.

The Vote was agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £15,500 be granted to His Majesty, to defray the expense of martial law, including the cost of Naval prisons at home and abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1904."


said he had given notice of his intention to move a reduction of the Vote by £100. He had for some years taken action with the view of obtaining a remedy for the grievance felt by marine officers on account of their being prevented from sitting on courts-martial when afloat. This matter had been under discussion in the House for at least twelve years. The disability was very much resented by the marine officers. There was a considerable amount of jealousy and prejudice against the marines on the part of the naval officers. Everybody knew it. The naval officer wished to do the best he could for himself, but in doing that he was restricting all the privileges to his own rank and class. He thought this question was first raised in 1892 by Sir John Pope Hennessy, who pressed it on the attention of the Admiralty. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for India, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty said that he did not personally see why the change proposed should not be made, and he gave a distinct pledge that he would so amend the Naval Discipline Act as to remove the grievance. The present Secretary to the Admiralty in 1893 addressed a question to the then Secretary of the Admiralty in which he asked what steps had been taken to carry out the promise of the First Lord of the Admiralty that a clause would be inserted in the Naval Discipline Act to allow members of the Royal Marines to sit on courts-martial afloat when members of that corps were being tried. And the reply of the First Lord was that this question could only be dealt with by legislation and that it would be considered when a Bill to amend the Naval Discipline Act became necessary. The present Secretary to the Admiralty was committed very deeply on this question.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £15,400, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Kearley.)


said that any proposal of that kind mentioned by the hon. Member would involve new legislation.


said that the hon. Member would be out of order in discussing upon the Estimates any proposal involving new legislation.


said that the Naval Discipline Act of 1866 was quite definite on this matter; Section 58 of that Act provided as follows:— No officer shall be qualified to sit as a member of any court-martial held in pursuance of this Act unless he be a flag officer, captain, commander, or lieutenant of H. M. Navy on full pay.


said he could hardly understand that the Deputy Chairman ruled that any matter requiring legislation could not be raised on the Estimates.


said he was quite clear on the point that any proposal for new legislation had always been ruled out of order in discussing the Estimates.


submitted that there was here no question of new legislation at all. The Admiralty, by a stroke of the pen, could issue an order to secure what he wanted.


said that the Secretary to the Admiralty had clearly stated that new legislation was required, and therefore the hon. Member was out of order.


said he hoped he would have another opportunity of raising this question.

MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

said that last year he had drawn attention to the salary of the chaplain at Lewes Naval Prison. That clergyman had only to look after the prisoners and the staff, and he was paid a salary of £402, allowance in lieu of house £50, and civil allowances £48—in all, £500. The governor of the prison was only paid £370, although under another Vote he received allowances which made up his total income to £700. The local medical practitioner, whose duties were not very small, received only £100 per annum, and the chief warder £106. The naval prison at Bodmin did without a chaplain at all, the chaplain of H.M.S. "Duke of Wellington" doing all that was necessary, and receiving £50. He asked how it was that this very remunerative post was maintained at Lewes, for the chaplain had only to minister to 124 prisoners and twenty-four of a staff, for which he received £500—a sum which, he ventured to say, would be regarded as particularly large in most parishes in England. He reminded the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty of a promise he had made last year to inquire into the position of the chaplains of naval prisons, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman would explain why this comfortable billet at Lewes had been created and preserved for this particular clergyman.


said the appointment of this clergyman, and the salary he received, were due to his seniority in the Navy. It was considered necessary that a long-service Chaplain should be appointed at Lewes. The prison at Bodmin was a mixed establishment, and the Chaplain was appointed by the Prison Commissioners, and the salary paid out of the Civil Service Vote.


said he did not know how they could bring up this question of the position of Marine officers on courts-martial except by the very crude method of dividing against the Government. He differed from his hon. friend the member for Devonport, who said that there was a jealousy between the two branches of the Service.


said the hon. Member was out of order in again raising this question, because it had been ruled over and over again that proposed new legislation could not be discussed on the Estimates.


said that the explanation of the hon. Gentleman as to the Chaplain at Lewes was the same as that given last year. Might he ask whether, in accordance with the promise given last year, an inquiry had been made into the question of the position of the Chaplains at naval prisons, and whether anything had been done?


asked whether it was really necessary to have a Chaplain at a salary of £500 per annum to look after 124 men. There should be some statement from the Government whether they could not see their way to make an arrangement by which the services of this clergyman should be employed elsewhere, where greater opportunities would present themselves for the exercise of his talents.


said that last year he did promise to make an inquiry into this matter, because he did not know the facts. Now he knew the facts, which were quite simple. The Chaplain at Lewes was entitled by reason of his long service and seniority as a naval chaplain to the pay mentioned and he was employed at Lewes because he was a most suitable officer for the post. The prison at Lewes ought, in the opinion of the Admiralty, to have the services of a clergyman of wide experience of life and of the naval service. This clergyman was receiving the same salary he would be entitled to in any other sphere to which he might be transferred, and therefore there was no extra expense involved in the arrangement. He thought the Admiralty were entitled, in their discretion, to decide after consultation with the Chaplain of the Fleet, what Chaplain could be employed at this place with the greatest advantage to the Navy.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 43;

Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.) Leng, Sir John Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Levy, Maurice Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)
Black, Alexander William Lough, Thomas Shipman, Dr. John G.
Brigg, John Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth) Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Caldwell, James M'Crae, George Toulmin, George
Causton, Richard Knight Markham, Arthur Basil Ure, Alexander
Channing, Francis Allston Nussey, Thomas Willans Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) White, George (Norfolk)
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Pirie, Duncan V. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Reckitt, Harold James Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Rigg, Richard
Helme, Norval Watson Roberts John Bryn (Eifion) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Robson, William Snowdon Mr. Kearley and Mr. Runciman.
Joyce, Michael Roe, Sir Thomas
Lambert, George Rose, Charles Day
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W. Percy, Earl
Anson, Sir William Reynell Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Goulding, Edward Alfred Pretyman, Earnest George
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Green, W. Raymond (Cambs Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bain, Colonel James Robert Groves, James Grimble Purvis, Robert
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx Randles, John S.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm. Reid, James (Greenock)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Harris, Frederick Leverton Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Bignold, Arthur Hay, Hon. Claude George Renwick, George
Blundell, Colonel Henry Healy, Timothy Michael Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bond, Edward Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Bousfield, William Robert Henderson, Sir Alexander Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Brassey, Albert Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Round, Rt. Hon. James
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hoare, Sir Samuel Russell, T. W.
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside) Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln
Chapman, Edward Kennedy, Patrick James Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isleof Wight
Clive, Captain Percy A. Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Smith, James Parker (Lanarks
Collings, Right Hon. Jesse Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.) Lawson, John Grant Spear, John Ward
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.
Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S Lockie, John Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf. Univ.
Cranborne, Viscount Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S. Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n N
Crossley, Sir Savile Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale) Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft Valentia, Viscount
Denny, Colonel Macdona, John Cumming Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Dickson, Charles Scott M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C. Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh. Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-Lyne
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Doughty, George Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Morrell, George Herbert Willox, Sir John Archibald
Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Morrison, James Archibald Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Duke, Henry Edward Mount, William Arthur Wilson John (Glasgow)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C. Wood, James
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Nicol, Donald Ninian
Fisher, William Hayes Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Flower, Ernest Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.
Forster, Henry William Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.

Noes, 125. (Division List No. 44.)