HC Deb 02 March 1960 vol 618 cc1193-4
6. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that the continued absence of 18198 Marine W. Groves from home is causing anxiety to his parents at Great Russell Street, Birmingham; and, in view of the fact that application for compassionate discharge was made over five months ago and that medical evidence in support of the application was submitted nearly three months ago, if he will now consider discharging the man without further delay.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

An officer or rating is given immediate compassionate release when release is the only remedy for serious hardship at home. Marine Groves' parents have four other grown-up children. Marine Groves' application was therefore rejected as it did not match up to the criterion.

My noble Friend is considering whether the home circumstances have changed so as to warrant discharge.

Mr. Yates

I appreciate that, but I have been communicating with the hon. Gentleman's noble Friend for over five months. The man said he had not made another application. He has been to his commandant, and I have a letter from him, which I will pass on to the hon. Gentleman, in which he believes that it is only his presence at home which can save his mother. Both his mother and his father are very seriously affected by their health. [Laughter.] I do not know how this is a laughing matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] These parents are seriously ill with blood pressure, both of them.

Mr. Speaker

Would the hon. Gentleman resume his supplementary question, because this is the time for Questions?

Mr. Yates

My question to the Civil Lord is, will he consider the doctor's evidence on this, and the fact that there are no children at home who can take care of the father and mother, and that the boy himself believes, to use his own words, that it is only his presence which can save their health, especially his mother's health?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

My noble Friend is looking at this again, but I would prefer always the application or re-application to come from the Service man rather than from his parents or Members of Parliament. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We have to be certain that on balance the young boy also wants to leave a career where he is doing extremely well. I will certainly bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman said. Perhaps I could have that letter which he has received, to give to my noble Friend.

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