HC Deb 19 October 1916 vol 86 cc752-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War why the separation allowance promised last June to Mrs. Susan Spittle, Mountmellick, Queen's County, has not yet been granted, though her son, Lance-Corporal Richard Spittle, 3rd Battalion Irish Rifles, who joined the Colours on 1st December, 1915, has made several applications to the military authorities on behalf of his mother, who was partially dependent on him for the support of herself and family of seven children?


Inquiries are being made and my hon. Friend will be informed of the result.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to a letter published in a London newspaper of the 16th October, under the heading "The Lack of Irish Recruits," alleging that an Irish Guardsman sent home eight months ago, with an arm amputated at the shoulder, had been notified by the Government that they had done with him, and had no more money to give him; whether such a man is entitled under the regulations to a weekly life pension of 15s. or 16s.; and what steps have been taken to deal with the statement and to prevent its republication in Ireland to the further prejudice of recruiting?


My attention has been drawn to the letter to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. I have obtained the name of the soldier referred to, and I find that he was discharged on the 8th August and given a pension of 25s. for two months, and that he has on the expiry of the two months been given a pension of 14s. a week for life. The statment made in the letter, "that the Government notified; this soldier that they had done with him and have no more pay to give him," is, therefore, not understood, and further inquiry will be made.


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will see his way to grant the mother of Private Joseph M'Carthy, No. 4675, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, who was killed in action on 25th April last, a pension; and whether he is aware that Mrs. M'Carthy is now sixty-three years old and in delicate health, and if not assisted must necessarily suffer privation?


Although numerous inquiries were made no evidence was forthcoming that this soldier supported his mother before the War, and no pension can therefore be issued to her from Army funds.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, in the case of an apprentice whose mother is dead, and who has been brought up by an aunt, and in respect of whom a total sum of 15s. a week was paid to the aunt, the War Office refuses to grant any separation allowance, on the ground that the youth only earned 8s. a week out of that sum and the remainder was contributed by his father; and whether, in cases where a person was clearly dependent on a soldier before enlistment, it is the practice of the War Office to investigate the source from which the soldier derived his contributions, and to refuse an allowance unless they were wholly the proceeds of his own earnings?


The hon. Member has already submitted to me the particular case on" which this question is based, and I regret I am unable to add anything to the very full reply I sent him on the 9th instant.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether it is the practice of the Department to deduct any sum from the pension of a widow of a soldier, on the ground that, through private charity in the way of education and maintenance of any child, the mother is no longer responsible for its maintenance.


No, Sir; the child's pension is paid to the institution responsible for its care and maintenance; the mother's own pension is untouched.

Major HUNT

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, in view of the fact that much has been done towards providing wounded non-commissioned officers and men of the Army with better pensions, he can say when this is also going to be done for officers?


This has already been done by the Royal Warrant of 26th November, 1915, republished as No. 3 in Army Orders for January, 1916, and the Royal Warrant of 15th July, 1916, published as. Army Order 256. I will send copies to my. hon. and gallant Friend.