§ 21. Mr. WALTER BAKER
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. A. Hall, of 35, Alma Street, Stapleton Road, Bristol, who is claiming a special pension granted to old soldiers on reaching the age of 65 years and who is in possession of the requisite wail medals; whether he is aware that the claim has been refused as the claimant's age is incorrectly registered in the Army records, due to the fact that the recruiting sergeant entered Mr. Hall's age as some years younger on his enlistment 42 years ago in order to give the impression that the recruit was a growing lad, as his height was considerably under the required standard; and whether he will inquire into this case?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Duff Cooper)
In the absence of further particulars, I am unable to identify the case to which the hon. Member refers. But, as was stated on the 13th of this month, in reply to the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. K. Griffith), the age given by a recruit on his first attestation is accepted as his correct age throughout his career for various Army purposes, including the assessment of pension.
§ Mr. BAKER
Is it not common knowledge that at the date in question recruiting officers were in the habit of adjusting the age of recruits in order to secure their admission to the Army, and, if that is the case, is not the responsibility for the inaccurate age a matter for the War Office and not for the recruit?
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
Is it not the fact that recruiting sergeants are tempting misled youths in this direction?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would point out that the hon. Member is opening his question in a dangerous way with the word "If."
§ Mr. STEPHEN
When the applicant gives definite evidence that his age is different from that on the attestation form, will the Minister see that a pension is given?
§ Mr. COOPER
No, Sir, the rule is that the age given at the time that he enlisted is the age taken throughout his career as his correct age.
§ 24. Sir ROBERT NEWMAN
asked the Secretary of State for War the number of men who are receiving pensions in consequence of war service previous to 1914; whether they receive the same rate of pension as those whose pensions have been awarded for service in the Great War; and, if they do not, what the difference of the rate is?
§ The MINISTER of PENSIONS (Major Tryon)
I have been asked to answer this question. The number of men in receipt of pensions in respect of disablement resulting from service in former wars is about 5,750. These pensioners receive the same rates of pension according to their degree of disablement as those pensioned in respect of Great War disablement, unless it is more advantageous to them to be dealt with under the Pensions Increase Warrants of 26th September, 1921, and 13th March, 1925, which provide under certain conditions for a percentage increase on the pre-War pension.