HC Deb 02 March 1938 vol 332 cc1100-1
43. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will furnish particulars of the action taken in the case of fatal accidents in the Air Force; whether wives and/or parents are notified of the date and place of the inquest, and provision made for the payment of travelling and hotel expenses should they wish to attend; and what compensation is payable to the parents of single men killed while serving in the Royal Air Force?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

As regards the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the provisions of paragraphs 2310 to 2317 and paragraphs 3033 to 3035 of King's Regulations for the Royal Air Force. As regards the second part, the arrangements for the holding of the inquest are a matter for the coroner, but the Air Force authorities give such information and assistance as is possible in cases where relatives have intimated their wish to attend. No payment from Air Force funds is made for travelling expenses of relatives to attend inquests, but I understand that the coroner allows any reasonable travelling expenses to essential witnesses. As regards the last part of the question, the parents of single men killed whilst on duty in the Royal Air Force are eligible for an allowance provided they are in pecuniary need and the father, if alive, is incapable of self-support through age or infirmity. A widowed mother may receive an allowance subject only to proof of pecuniary need.

Mr. Smith

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman think that the provision contained in the latter part of his answer is a generous one, having regard to all the circumstances?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I can only say that our rules are common to all three Services, and have been in operation for some time.