HC Deb 22 June 1966 vol 730 cc557-8
13. Captain W. Elliot

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what gratuities are paid to holders of the Military Medal who won this decoration in the Second World War and the First World War, respectively.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army (Mr. David Ennals)

For the Second World War, £20 gratuity or for pensioners 6d. a day in addition to pension; for the First World War, nothing.

Captain Elliot

When the hon. Gentleman comes to answer my supplementary question, will he throw away his Departmental brief? Is he aware that I know the number who won the medal in each war? Does he not think that there is a most unfair anomaly which could be easily corrected, and will he look into the matter?

Mr. Ennals

When the decision was taken at the end of the Second World War, it was decided that it would not then be possible to include First World War holders. If we were to do it now, it would involve a total of 35,000 holders of the pension from the First World War and would cost about £700,000. It is felt that at this stage, so many years afterwards, that would not be a reasonable expense upon the defence budget.

Mr. Gurden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of the recipients of this decoration, being officers, did not have their names and numbers inscribed on them, which is the practice with other ranks? Will he look at the point and try to change the practice so that all names and numbers are inscribed?

Mr. Ennals

With respect, that is a different question, but it goes to prove that it would be difficult to track down all those who gained the award at the time of the First World War.

Captain Elliot

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the hon. Gentleman's reply, I wish to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.