HC Deb 12 November 1918 vol 110 cc2535-9W

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if the separation allowance given to the wife of a sailor is less than that given to the wife of a soldier; and, if so, what is the reason?


I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of Command Paper No. 7619, which explains fully the reasons for the differentiation. He will, of course, recollect that in the case of ordinary seamen, A.B.'s, and privates, R.M., and equivalent ratings and ranks, if the man allots a sum which leaves him with not more than 10s. 6d. a week, and his wife or dependant then receives less in separation allowance, allotment, and allotment concession, than the wife or dependant of a private in the Army would receive, a supplementary separation allowance to make up the difference is paid by the Admiralty.


asked whether the new scale for increased separation allowances for the dependants of soldiers has been applied to the dependants of sailors?


Yes, Sir; subject to certain small variations in procedure due to the different conditions of pay and service in the Navy and the Army. I much regret that in Navy cases, owing to lack of accommodation and staff, it will not be possible to pay arrears of the increased children's allowance before Christmas. But arrangements have been made to start the weekly payments as from Thursday, the 2nd January, 1919, on which date all arrears will also be paid.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that James A. Lauder, late lieutenant and quartermaster of the 84th Training Reserve Battalion, is very much dissatisfied at the refusal of the War Office to grant him a war gratuity of £124 for three years' service in His Majesty's Forces; whether he is aware that under paragraph (b), 497, Warrant for Pay, the man is entitled to a war gratuity and that he is still suffering from neurasthenia on account of his service overseas; whether he is prepared to reconsider the whole case again with a view to a gratuity being granted to him; and, if not, will he allow James A. Lauder to appear before a member of the War Council to state his case in full?


The grounds on which Mr. Lauder was called upon to resign his commission preclude the issue of the gratuity; the case was very carefully considered at the time, and I am unable to reopen it now.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Private William Garner, No. 3671, late Notts and Derby Regiment, was awarded a Service pension of 6d. a day some years ago on his discharge; that this pension was stopped in January, 1917; and that he rejoined and has served in this War and is in receipt of a conditional pension for disability at the present time; whether, under the Regulations, Service pension should not continue to be drawn as well as disability pension; and whether he will make inquiries into the reason why this man's Service pension has been stopped?


This pension of 6d. a day was not a Service pension but a disability pension, and it has been merged into the disability pension which has been awarded to him in respect of his service in the present War.


asked the Pensions Minister if he will inquire into the case case of Arthur H. Wade, late bugler, No. 10637, D Company, 6th Service Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, enlisted in August, 1914, and having contracted tuberculosis while on active service, was discharged on 9th February, 1915, and who, after various attempts at earning a livelihood, was recently discharged from employment as writer in the inspection department at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, as unfit for further service, and has now been offered a gratuity of £37 10s. in final settlement; and, in view of the fact that this man is often unable to work, will he reconsider the amount of the gratuity or the grant of an alternative pension, in order to place him in the same position financially, within reasonable limits, as he enjoyed before the War, after making allowance for his greatly diminished capacity for earning a living?


This man was discharged alter 169 days' service having throat trouble, which was thought to be probably tuberculosis. Since his discharge he has been frequently examined, in connection with renewals of his pension, but at none of the examinations have any tubercle bacilli been discovered. The medical officers of the Department have recently reported on the case as followsThis man has been examined a number of times since discharge, and the conclusion of the examiners, including a specialist on the throat, is that his condition is not due to tuberculosis. His condition has improved to some extent, and is now adequately compensated for by a final gratuity.


asked the Pensions Minister if he can explain the delay which has occurred in the award of a pension to Squadron Sergeant-Major T. Reilly, No. 20342, 6th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, who was discharged from the Army on 21st September last; whether the pension of this soldier was assessed as far back as 5th August, 1914; and whether, seeing that he has made repeated applications without success to the Ministry for payment of the pension, he will give instructions for an immediate settlement of the case?


The hon. Member is presumably referring to the "Service pension" of 34d. a day for life, with effect from 5th August, 1914, which was awarded to this soldier under Army Order 1 of 1918. The question of the delay in payment of his pension is a matter for the War Office, but from inquiries which have been made I understand that payment, with full arrears, will be immediately issued.


asked the Pensions Minister whether any provision, gratuity, or donation of any kind has ben granted to Mrs. Margaret Lehane, of Keelavoy, Banteer, county Cork, whose two sons have been killed in action, Private Richard Lehane, Royal Welsh Regiment, on the 12th August, 1915, and Private Michael Lehane, No. 9293, Irish Guards, killed 30th March, 1918; and if any inquiry has been made into the circumstances of Mrs. Lehane, who in her old age is wholly dependent on the old age pension?


No notice appears to have been received in my Department of the death of the first-named son, in respect of whom separation allowance was presumably not paid. With regard to the second son, investigation proves that there was no pre-war dependence, but in view of Mrs. Lehane's circumstances inquiries are being made of the local committee with a view to the award of a parents' special pension.


asked the Pensions Minister whether it has now been decided to make officers and men of the Mercantile Marine and their dependants eligible for assistance from the King's Fund?


The trustees of the King's Fund have decided to extend the benefits of the fund to those classes of the Mercantile Marine who are under naval discipline and as such have been recently brought within the pensions schemes of the Ministry.


asked the Pensions Minister if his attention has been called to the case of Mr. A. Croppe, late No. 33328, gunner, 86th Battery Royal Field Artillery, who met with an accident while on duty resulting in the loss of his right arm, and was discharged on 17th July, 1908, but is not eligible for consideration under the Royal Warrant for the pensions of soldiers partially disabled in former wars; and will he consider whether steps can be taken to remedy this omission by adjusting the pensions of men so situated to the same rate as that issued to men who have been similarly disabled during the present War?


The accident which led to the discharge of this soldier was sustained while he was on ordinary military duty in time of peace, not during a former war, and he is therefore not eligible for increase of pension under the Royal Warrants. I do not consider that there is any ground for bringing former disability pensions not awarded for war service into line with the pensions of the present War.


asked the Pensions Minister if his attention has been drawn to the award of £26 a year pension to the mother of the late Lieutenant John M'Kenzie, Royal Garrison Artillery; and whether, seeing that Mrs. M'Kenzie has no other income and that she is, according to medical evidence forwarded by her doctor, a confirmed invalid, he will cause inquiry to be made into her case?


The pension awarded is £36 a year, not £26. No medical evidence was forwarded by Mrs. M'Kenzie, but, if she will now send it, the question of increasing her pension somewhat will be considered.