§ 19. Mr. Lunn
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that an aeroplane crashed on 22nd March last near Kettering during a storm of snow and hail and three men were killed, one of whom was Sergeant J. R. Wiles, a wireless-operator mechanic in the Royal Air Force who had been in the Royal Air Force nine years, and was receiving a wage of over £4 a week and allowed his parents 17s. 6d, a week; why the air authorities have deducted £20 15s. funeral expenses from his estate; and as his father is nearly 60 years of age and only a colliery surface worker, will he say what compensation or pension they will get for the loss of their son?
§ Sir K. Wood
The arrangements for the funeral in this regrettable case were made by the relatives, and in accordance with the regulations a total expenditure of £7 10s. was authorised from public funds towards the expenses incurred. The balance of £20 15s. incurred by the parents, therefore, fell to be met from the deceased's estate. Under rules common to the three fighting Services compensation is not payable to the dependent parents, as distinct from the widows or children, of deceased members of the Forces unless the pecuniary and other 1270 circumstances are such as to justify an award. An application for a parent's allowance has been received in this case and is being examined by my Department.
§ Mr. Lipson
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is not desirable, by a system of insurance or in some other way, that compensation should be given to parents when members of the fighting Services are killed in peace time?
§ Sir Arnold Wilson
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of inquiring into the circumstances in which funerals are conducted, by private arrangement, for members of the Royal Air Force, in view of the heavy expense incurred in a case like this?