HC Deb 20 December 1916 vol 88 cc1446-50

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he will say why Margaret Howell, mother of the late Private James Howell, No. 19299, H Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, has been refused a pension or allowance, seeing that while at home in Tatnafree, Brookeboro, county Fermanagh, he gave most of his earnings to his mother, who had an allotment of 3s. 6d. per week from him until he was killed in action in France on or about 2nd November, 1915; can he state why this allowance to her was stopped immediately after his death; and will he have her application for a pension reconsidered?


No application for pension appears to have been received, but I am having inquiries made, and will inform my hon. Friend of the result.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he will say why No. 1122, Sergeant F. Carney, 5/4th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been refused a pension or allowance on being discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit; is he aware that ex-Sergeant Carney is the son of a fisherman aged over sixty years who finds it impossible to support an invalid son who is unable to work, and that his only brother, No. 7830, Sergeant J. Carney, Royal Inniskillings, who contributed to the support of the home, was killed in Callipoli, having served through the African campaign and been dangerously wounded in France when he won the Russian Cross of St. George; and will he, in the circumstances, have ex-Sergeant F. Carney's application reconsidered and a pension granted to him if possible?


This man's disability, bronchitis, had existed for several years before he joined the Army, and was not aggravated by his military service (which was all at home). He is therefore not eligible for a pension. I am inquiring about the other son.


Was the man accepted as medically fit?




If he was accepted as medically fit, why did the War Office refuse a pension?


No one knows better than my hon. Friend the rules under which we have to administer pensions at present.


Are all those passed as medically fit refused pensions if they leave the Army medically unfit?


No. My hon. Friend is equally well aware of that.


Will the hon. Gentleman take steps to modify that?


That is a matter for argument afterwards.

38. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he can state what steps, if any, the Government will take to provide for the widows and orphans of soldiers whose death was caused by accident whilst in the service of their country; if he is aware that in one case in Dublin a soldier's widow and children are in receipt of Poor Law relief, and that the wife, who is in a delicate state of health, has to leave her three children, all babies, in the hands of strangers in a penny nursery whilst she goes to work, where she earns from 4s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. a week; if he is aware that her husband left his employment to answer his country's call and died whilst on active service; and if he will cause instructions to be issued to provide such dependants with the necessary means of existence without the aid of Poor Law relief?


My hon. Friend has informed me that his question refers to the case of Mrs. Flatman, widow of the late Driver J. Flatman, R.F.A., as to which he has already been in correspondence with me. I have already explained to him that Driver Flatman's death was caused by his own fault, and no pension or gratuity can be paid from Army funds.


What provision is made by the War Office for the widow and children of this man whose death was due to an accident—being choked while eating a piece of meat? At the present time they are being provided for out of Poor Law relief in Dublin. Can I not have an answer to that very important question? Are the children to go hungry after that man meeting his death in the service of his country?


No. I think not. I do not think that the children ought to go hungry. I think that that is a case in which the discretionary powers of the Statutory Committee might well be exercised.


Will you make that recommendation?

41. Mr. P. MEEHAN

asked if the inquiries as to the dependant's allowance payable to Mrs. Margaret Condron, mother of Private Michael Condron, No. 19875, Dublin Fusiliers, are yet completed; and, if so, what is the result?


I have ascertained that a claim for separation allowance has not been made by Private Condron. A form of application has been sent to him through his Commanding Officer, and payment of any allowance admissible will be made in due course with effect from date of application.

42. Mr. MEEHAN

asked if Andrew Dunne, of Drymaterrel, Ballinakill, Queen's County, has yet received dependant's allowance in respect of his son, Thomas Dunne, No. 11513, Irish Guards; and whether Andrew Dunne will receive a pension of 5s. a week in respect of his deceased son Patrick, No. 3450, Irish Guards, and a further pension of 5s. per week in respect of his deceased son William, No. 4390, Irish Guards, or only one pension of 5s. per week in respect of both?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the latter part, one pension of 5s. is being paid. I would remind the hon. Member that in these cases pension depends on the degree of dependence, and not on the number of sons.

44. Mr. MEEHAN

asked if the inquiries into the case of the dependants' allowances payable to the dependants of Private J. Rowan, No. 9987, Irish Guards, and Private William Rowan, No. 11476, Royal Irish Regiment, are yet completed; and, if so, what is the result?


Neither of these soldiers has yet made an allotment or claimed separation allowance.

45. Mr. MEEHAN

asked if the inquiries into the case of Private William Foley, No. 2497, Leinster Regiment, are yet completed; and, if so, what is the result?


This man's case has again been considered by the Chelsea Commissioners, and as his disability is regarded as aggravated to some extent by his military service, they have awarded him a conditional pension of 5s. a week for a year.

46. Mr. JOWETT

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that in a number of cases soldiers, who previous to enlistment had disagreed with their wives and separated from them, but who have since become reconciled and are fulfilling all their duties and obliga- tions as husbands and fathers, are unable to claim full separation allowance under the Army Orders now in force, although they allot the same amount out of their pay as other soldiers do; and if, for the sake of the welfare of the families concerned, he will recommend the Army Council to amend the Army Orders so that where a soldier and his wife who were separated when the soldier enlisted are afterwards reconciled to each other separation allowance may be paid at the full rate?


It is the established practice to grant separation allowance at the full rate in cases such as those described. If the hon. Member is aware of any case in which it has been refused, perhaps he will communicate with me.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he will inquire into the case of Private Albert Fox, No. 17904, King's Shropshire Light Infantry, who died on the 8th April, 1916, as the result of inoculation; and if he is aware that this man was the main support of his mother, that she lived in the house of which he was tenant, and that since his death she has not received any allowance or pension for his loss?

48. Mr. MEEHAN

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he is aware that Sergeant J. Hogan, No. 19776. Army Service Corps, recently discharged for service, claims that there is a sum of £41 13s. back pay due to him; and whether he will take any action in the matter and have a full statement of accounts furnished to Sergeant Hogan and all arrears paid him without delay?


I am having inquiries made into these cases, and will let the hon. Members know the result.

55. Mr. MEEHAN

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office, if the inquiries into the separation allowance payable to Mrs. Elizabeth Price, of Ballylincen, Queen's County, mother of Private James Price, deceased, No. 10962, Dublin Fusiliers, are yet completed; if so, what is the result; and whether the amount of pension payable to Mrs. Price has yet been fixed?


I have ascertained that there are no arrears of separation allowance due to Mrs. Price, payment having bean made from date of application. The question of pension is not yet settled.