HC Deb 24 February 1916 vol 80 cc827-8W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state the number of sailors or others in the Navy who have entirely lost their sight in the War, indicating the number in each rank or grade of the Service; and whether he can give any estimate of the proportion that will be self-supporting with or without the State pension?


Five naval officers and men have entirely and, so far as can be told, permanently lost their sight in the War. Of these, one midshipman, one ordinary seaman (Royal Naval Division), and one boy are still under naval care and have not yet been awarded pensions. The other two—a sapper, Royal Naval Division, and a petty officer, second class, Coastguard—have been discharged with life pensions of 25s. and 27s. a week respectively, dating from their discharge from naval hospital, up to which date they were in receipt of full pay. In addition, a private, Royal Fleet Reserve, has lost the sight of one eye permanently, and the other is at present so affected as to make the man practically blind, and he has been awarded a pension of 26s. 2d. a week, including an allowance for one good conduct badge, for a year from discharge. His case will be reconsidered in six months' time, when it will be possible to say more definitely how the sight is likely to be permanently affected. It is impossible to say in any of these cases whether they will be able to earn anything until their aptitude for acquiring knowledge as blind men has been gauged. This, however, is a matter for the Statutory Committee of the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation, on whom the responsibility for finding employment for disabled sailors and soldiers has been specifically placed by Parliament.