HC Deb 20 June 1951 vol 489 cc507-8
34. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on what grounds he has refused to make an ex-gratia payment of compensation to the widow of a retired farmer, Mrs. Lindsay, Stonehaven, whose husband was killed by a naval aircraft in November, 1944.

Mr. Callaghan

I understand that Mrs. Lindsay did not qualify for compensation from the Ministry of Pensions under the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme. I regret that I cannot single out Mrs. Lindsay for more favourable treatment than others similarly ineligible under the Scheme.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Is it not true to say that this unfortunate widow would have been entitled to compensation had this accident occurred before the war, after the war, or during the war, if her husband had not retired, but that since he had retired and the accident occurred during the war she is debarred from receiving compensation? If that is the case, would not the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a strong moral obligation upon the Admiralty to be generous in this case?

Mr. Callaghan

That succinct summary of the situation is absolutely correct, but the Act was placed upon the Statute Book by the House and I can only assume that the House had good reason for knowing why it adopted this practice in 1941.