HC Deb 28 January 1941 vol 368 cc403-4
3. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has received a copy of a resolution passed at the annual meeting of the Stoke branch of the British Legion, in which they ask for reconsideration of the policy in regard to missing men and their pay; if so, has the matter been considered; and what action is proposed?

The Secretary of State for War (Captain Margesson)

I have received a copy of the resolution, which is based on the misapprehension that the allowances to the dependants of missing men cease after six months. A reply has been sent explaining that allowances and allotments of pay continue to be paid, for 17 weeks, to the family and dependants of a missing man, if they are in a pensionable relationship to him. If the soldier is still missing after 17 weeks, a relative who would receive a pension if the soldier were dead is given an allowance at the pension rate until the Ministry of Pensions are in a position to give a pension.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Will the allowance continue in the case of a soldier who has found his way to the unoccupied part of France if his wife is able to provide information that he is still alive?

Captain Margesson

I think it would be best in any specific case to put a Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Shinwell

But if a soldier is neither presumed to be dead nor is known to be a prisoner of war, is it not desirable that some allowance should be made to the dependants?

Captain Margesson

That, again, is another question which I should like to see on the Paper.

Mr. Buchanan

Will the Minister say whether, if a man is found to be alive, the Army repay all the money due to him during the period when payments were stopped?

Captain Margesson

Yes, Sir, that would certainly be adjusted.