§ Major HORE-BELISHA
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been called to the case of Leading-aircraftsman H. S. Nicholls, who met his death in the course of his duty through the crashing of an aeroplane; whether he has received from the mother of the deceased aircraftsman a claim asking that she may be refunded the expenses to which she was put in connection with the funeral and for a pension, upon the ground that her deceased son made her a regular allowance of 14s. a week; whether he is aware that these claims have been rejected by the Air Ministy because the Air Council have only power to grant a small weekly allowance to the parents of deceased airmen if their pecuniary circumstances are desperate and whether, seeing that a pension would have been granted to the parents of the deceased aircraftsman if he had met his death on active service, and in view of the fact that the parents of the deceased were partially dependent upon the allotment made to them by their son, he can see his way to grant the claim made or to alter the regulations?
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
If the hon. Gentleman's answer contains a refusal, would he undertake to look into the whole subject in view of the fact that the parents of this man were dependent upon his earnings?
§ Following is the answer:
§ The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards 594 the third part, the Air Council have power, where a deceased airmen leaves no widow nor children, to grant an allowance to his parents if they were largely dependent upon him at the time of his death and are in such pecuniary need as to justify the grant. In the present case the latter condition was not fulfilled and the allowance could not, therefore, be granted. The maximum grant in aid of funeral expenses was, however, made, and the balance of these expenses, to which the claim received from the airman's mother relates, can be met from the estate; moreover, the body was conveyed from Salisbury to Devonport at public expense. As regards the last part of the question, no distinction is made between death on active service and death due to a flying accident. The regulations were very fully considered when they were drawn up and I regret that I cannot agree that the present case proves that they call for amendment.