HC Deb 26 February 1931 vol 248 cc2439-40

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £2,700, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1931, for War Pensions and Allowances (including cost of Treatment) to Merchant Seamen and Fishermen and their Dependants and the Administrative Expenses connected therewith.


I rather welcome this Supplementary Estimate, and I hope that it is a sign that the cases of those seamen and fishermen who suffered during the War are going to receive somewhat more sympathetic consideration than they have received up to the present. I will go as far as to say that I am rather glad to think that a case which I brought forward may in some way actually be responsible for playing some part in the responsibility for this Supplementary Estimate. The case, of which there have been a very large number in the constituency which I represent, is that of a man who was not in the Navy and not even in the mine sweepers but who performed useful service in working between England and the Continent. His vessel was torpedoed, and although he was not actually injured, he spent a very considerable time immersed in the icy waters of the North Sea. After some little time and recuperation, he was able to carry on his normal duties, and was even well enough to keep on for some years, but the time came when he was unable to carry on his work as usual, and in due course he died. Although it was not actually possible to say that his death was directly attributable to that long immersion in the ocean, the fact remains that the doctor said that there was not the least doubt that it was at any rate partially due to it. I am thankful that some compensation was granted to his family. That is typical of many cases that have occurred in my constituency. I take it as a hopeful sign that this Supplementary Estimate may indicate that cases like that, of which there are several coming on at the present time, may receive somewhat more sympathetic consideration than they have received up to the present time.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.