HC Deb 04 August 1926 vol 198 cc2977-8
20. Mr. A. R. KENNEDY

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. F. S. Smith, ex-leading air-craftsman, No. 159,945, Royal Air Force, and to the fact that this young man has been discharged from the Air Force suffering from acute tuberculosis after several years' service, including service in the East, and has been refused disability pension, though he had no previous tubercular history, and his medical advisers are of opinion that the disease is directly attributable to his service; and whether he will appoint an appeal tribunal which will ensure a fair consideration of the testimony on both sides in this and similar cases, or will take other steps to remove the sense of injustice caused by an adverse decision arrived at in the absence of medical testimony offered by the applicant?

The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Sir Samuel Hoare)

As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

As regards the first part of the question, I am advised that the Royal Air Force medical authorities were unable to discover any specific incident of this airman's service in the Royal Air Force which could be regarded as a factor either in the production or in the aggravation of the tuberculosis for which he was invalided. The incidence of this disease amongst Royal Air Force personnel at home and abroad is practically the same, and compares favourably with the incidence amongst the civil population of England. There is no evidence to show that general service conditions in Iraq, Egypt, Palestine or India, are provocative of the onset of tuberculosis. The fact that the disease manifested itself after the airman's entry into the Service does not prove that Service conditions played any part in producing it.

As regards the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. and gallant Member for North Portsmouth (Sir B. Falk) by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty on the 18th May last.