HL Deb 07 July 1932 vol 85 cc732-4

Order of the Day for the consideration of the Report from the Select Committee read.

The Committee reported as follows: That the First Report by the Committee was made to the House on the 18th of December, 1928. The bronze group by Mr. John Tweed and the panels on either side of the alcove, on which the names are inscribed, were completed in the early part of this year. The Memorial was unveiled by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on the 10th of March, 1932. It was decided at a meeting of the Committee held on the 28th of June, 1932, that the names of Scottish and Irish non-representative Peers and their sons who laid down their lives in the War should be added to the Memorial. The Committee have considered the question of the disposal of the surplus balance of the fund. The total subscriptions, including accrued interest, amounted approximately to £12,000. The total expenditure to date has amounted approximately to £10,000. The surplus, subject to certain further small payments, will amount therefore approximately to £2,000. The Committee decided that a replica should be made of each page of the Memorial Books and offered to the nearest relatives of those commemorated. It was further decided that a bed, to be called "The House of Lords War Memorial Bed," be endowed at Westminster Hospital at a cost of £1,000, and that any final balance after all expenses have been met should be given to the Westminster Hospital as a donation. It was also decided to take out an insurance policy for £1,000 so that in the event of destruction a sum would be available to replace the memorial in some form.


My Lords, I think I should say a few words about the Second Report, which I hope may be the final one, of the Peers' War Memorial Committee. Your Lordships will see that a decision was taken by the Committee to include the Scottish and Irish Peers and their sons—those Peers who are not Peers of Parliament. The original decision was that only Peers of Parliament and their sons should be included but that decision was arrived at, I think, early in the history of the Committee, and mainly in connection with the proposed erection of the War Memorial in the Princes' Chamber, and one of the reasons was that the space there was somewhat small, and it was necessary to keep down the numbers as much as possible. These reasons do not now seem to be cogent, but I think there was a considerable desire expressed by noble Lords who are not Peers of Parliament that this inclusion should be made, and so the Committee have decided to add another panel to those already in the Royal Gallery, which will include the Scottish and Irish Peers, and also two names which were inadvertently omitted from the original panels.

Then we have decided to make an insurance of the Memorial for £1,000. Of course, it would not be possible to replace the Memorial altogether if the buildings were burnt down or some accident occurred by which the Memorial was destroyed, but it would be possible to put up something in its place in the future. Supposing the statue were destroyed or the panels or books were destroyed, it would be possible at any rate to replace them by something which might serve to commemorate those who laid down their lives during the War. Then there is a considerable sum over, and there was difficulty in deciding what should be done with it. In the first place, it was considered that it might be an acceptable gift to the relatives of those commemorated in the Memorial to have a copy of the page of the book on which their relatives' name is inscribed. It was decided therefore to spend some of the surplus money in carrying that out, and a letter will be sent to the nearest relative of everybody commemorated, asking whether they would like to have such a record, and, if so, whether they would communicate with me, stating the address to which it should be sent. I venture to make that observation because I hope that we shall have answers from all those to whom we have written, as it rather complicates the matter if we do not know whether or not they wish to receive the gift. If the nearest relative does not wish to receive it, we shall approach the next nearest, and so on.

There remains another point, that is the residue of £1,000 or so. It was decided to endow a bed to be called the House of Lords War Memorial Bed, or by some such title, in the Westminster Hospital, and the Hospital has accepted the gift, and has agreed that if there are any persons attached to your Lordships' House who should need treatment they would make arrangements, and it would be given there. There probably will be a small sum over after that, and, if so, it is proposed to give it as a donation or subscription to the Hospital. I hope this will be the last time I have to trouble your Lordships with a Report. I do not know whether everything will be wound up by next Session, or whether it will be necessary to appoint the Committee again, but anyhow there will be very little to be done in the future. I beg to move that this Report be now considered and adopted.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past seven o'clock.