HC Deb 02 May 1995 vol 259 cc163-4
12. Sir Michael Neubert

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of Her Majesty's armed forces died on active service during 1994. [20087]

Mr. Freeman

Nine members of Her Majesty's armed forces died last year as a result of hostile and enemy action. A further four service men died following road traffic accidents while serving with United Nations forces in Bosnia.

Sir Michael Neubert

Is not it instructive to contrast those figures with the number of women who qualified as war widows during the calendar year 1994—more than 1,600—and to recognise, at this time when we are celebrating and commemorating the 50th anniversary of victory in Europe, that so-called war widows are not solely by any means the widows of men killed in action during the second world war?

Mr. Freeman

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is useful to remember that 48,500 war widows have recently benefited from the decision to ensure that their war widows pension is restored on the death or loss of a second husband, that the numbers are being added to at the rate of 1,600 per annum and that the death of husbands who have died recently can be traced back to service in the British armed forces. About 66,000 widows receive benefit from the armed forces parliamentary pension scheme since the loss of their husbands was due to natural causes, not to service.

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