HC Deb 05 March 1908 vol 185 cc900-1
Mr. BYLES (Salford, N.)

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Evans, the widow of a man who served on H.M.S. "Caesar" throughout the whole period of the Crimean War, who is now eighty-three years of age, and without any visible means of support; whether she has applied for an allowance from the Royal Patriotic Fund, and has been refused, on the ground that there are no funds at present for assisting such cases; whether the last balance sheet, issued by the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation, shows that on the Russian War Fund alone nearly £85,000 remained in hand at the end of 1906, and on the general fund over £154,000; and whether it is possible so to administer these funds that they shall not be beyond the reach of the octogenarian widows of soldiers or sailors who have a claim upon them.


I understand that the case referred to is that of the widow of a man who served in the Baltic (not in the Crimea) during the Russian War, 1854–6, and who survived his service in that War for fifty-one years, dying as recently as December 1907. He left ten children upon whom his widow has natural claim for support. As the husband did not die from service in War, the widow has no direct claim upon Patriotic Funds, and the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation are of opinion, having regard to prospective calls upon the Funds in their hands on account of those with stronger claims, that they would not be justified in entertaining such cases for relief.


Was not a fund collected at the close of the war specially allotted to widows whose husbands died after the war—providing that they had been married previous to 30th March, 1856, and has not the Secretary to the Royal Patriotic Fund admitted in the correspondence that this widow is eligible but that there are no funds.


I have no further information.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the father of this lady —a pensioner in the Coastguards —had two sons and four sons-in-law in the war.


The hon. Member is asking a string of questions. He had better put some of them down.