§ 22. Mr. JOWETT
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if he will expain why the death of William Francis Maw, late of His Majesty's ship "Good Hope," was not notified to the father until six months after it occurred; whether the father of the deceased, who is a Civil servant of thirty-three years' standing, is obliged, in accordance with instructions contained in Form 14 M.C., to attend with two householders before a clergyman of the Established Church to whom he is personally unknown to prove his right to the administration of the effects of the deceased, although ministers of other religious denominations and various city justices could certify his identity on their own know-edge and without the assistance of two householders; and if, having regard to the natural disinclination of relatives distressed by reason of bereavement to go through the process of attending with witnesses before a stranger concerning mere matters of property, he will arrange some alternative method of proving identity for persons to whom the present method is distasteful and objectionable?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
As regards the first part of the question, I think that my hon. Friend is misinformed. The "Good Hope" was lost on 1st November, 1914, and I understand that Mr. Maw was advised of the death of his son on the 21st of that month, and that he acknowledged the receipt of the notification on the following day. The forms sent 1629 in this case are those prescribed in connection with the Navy and Marines (Property of Deceased) Act, 1865, and if Mr. Maw had made representation to the Department as to any difficulty in complying with the instructions, his representation would have been given full consideration. With regard to the last part of the question, I may say that the subject of the procedure for obtaining administration for naval assets is already under consideration.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very widespread dissatisfaction with this practice?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
There is an Order in Council in connection with the Act of 1865, but, as I have said, I think the whole question requires consideration, and is being dealt with.