HC Deb 12 March 1913 vol 50 cc223-5

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is intended to recover from Mrs. Evans the cost of the naval funeral honours accorded to her hus- band, the late Deputy-Inspector-General Evans, R.N., an officer who served with distinction in the Crimea; what are the conditions regulating the according of naval funeral honours; and whether he will consider the desirability in all cases where the services of the deceased are considered sufficiently meritorious to be recognised by a naval funeral of defraying the costs of such funeral honours out of public moneys, rather than that a bill for the hire of His Majesty's bluejackets, gun-carriage, etc., should subsequently be sent in to the widow of the deceased?


The general rule is that in the case of retired officers naval funeral honours are not granted at the expense of the public except in very special cases where the officer has held the highest rank or has filled very important naval appointments. In answer to a telegram from the widow of the late Deputy-Inspector-General Evans, this rule was communicated to her with, however, an intimation that should the relatives be prepared to bear the expense it would be possible to arrange for a gun carriage and party to be sent from Chatham. This condition was accepted by Mrs. Evans, but as she subsequently wrote requesting reconsideration, the question of payment was left to her decision. No reply having been received, the expenses in question are being treated as a public charge.


Will the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of my question as to the desirability of doing away with the practice of allowing the cost of these funerals to be defrayed by the representatives of the deceased?


I have already stated that the rule was communicated to Mrs. Evans. I am afraid it is the rule that funeral honours which involve a charge upon the public purse have to be paid for. They are allowed only in very special cases or in cases of veterans with war service who live in the ports. Generally, that is the rule which is carried out.


Is not a naval funeral intended as a mark of honour for the service of the deceased, and should it he granted as a matter of payment, quite apart from whether the deceased has deserved the honour?


Apparently the hon. Member did not hear my answer. A naval funeral is not granted except in very special cases.