§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a man named West, employed until recently at the Small Arms Factory, Enfield Lock, met with a serious accident to his arm in July, 1885; a very serious accident to his leg in October, 1886, which has left a running wound, and which has had to he under medical care ever since; the total loss of one eye on the 17th May, 1887, for which the Government gave him £23, and then docked his wages 10s. per week till it was paid back; that he was ruptured in May, 1905; that some hot metal almost destroyed the sight of his remaining eye in 1907, leaving him almost blind; and that he met with a serious accident to his hand, destroying two fingers, happening subsequently; and whether this man, now aged sixty-two, was discharged without any compensation; and, if so, whether he will take his case into his favourable consideration.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
My right hon. friend has asked me to reply to this Question. As I informed the hon. Member for Enfield on the 10th instant, the question of rendering any further assistance to this man presents grave difficulties and I am not yet in a position to say whether anything can be done for him. I should point out, however, that the hon. Member is not correct in his statement of the facts; for example, West received £73 not £23 as compensation, and it is not the case that he was docked 10s. per week of his wages till the money was repaid. It is true, however, that immediately after the accident he was re-employed at wages lower by 10s. than he had been receiving, but after a little more than a year he was put back to his old rate of wages and continued at that rate until in September, 1902, when he was fifty-eight years of age, they were increased by 4½d. a week. On retirement he was granted a gratuity of £29 18s. 6d.