HC Deb 03 December 1920 vol 135 cc1613-4W

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the late Lieutenant Cecil Francis Leese, of the 29th Punjabis, was killed in action on the 30th May, 1919, during the retreat from Wana; that previous to the evacuation the whole of the belongings of the officers and men were burned under Government orders with a guarantee that they would be replaced at the expense of the Government; that the regimental committee of adjustments made application to the political authorities for Rs. 6,500, representing the late lieu- tenant's loss, which amount was, after considerable controversy, reduced to Rs. 4,500, this sum being paid into the civil treasury at Jhelum on the 28th July last; that Lieutenant Leese had also a balance at Grindlays of Rs. 1,213; that a sporting gun belonging to the late lieutenant was put on the rail by the military authorities, the conveyance receipt for which was forwarded to the India Office, but which has not since been heard of; and whether, having regard to the delay of 18 months which has already taken place, during which the rupee has depreciated some 25 per cent., and to the fact that the deceased officer's representative cannot get any information or satisfaction in response to his communications, he will cause urgent inquiries to be made, so that the sum of Rs. 6,086.9.0, including the value of the gun, may be paid without further delay at the rate of exchange-prevailing at the period of the award?


Two copies of the report of the proceedings of the committee of adjustment in the case of the late Lieutenant C. F. W. Leese, dated, Jhelum, 5th August, 1920, were received at the India Office on the 6th October One copy was sent to the father, Colonel W. F. Leese, on the 22nd October. The details of the estate given in the question are as furnished in that report. Search has been made for the missing gun, but it does not appear to have been received in this country. I am making inquiries at Bombay. Letters of administration of the estate were lodged at the India Office on the 23rd October, and as soon as a remittance is received from India, the amount will be paid to Colonel Leese, who is the administrator. This should be very shortly. It is usual for those who claim administration to make a declaration of responsibility for the military debts of the estate. If this declaration had been received by the committee, the remittance could have been made by them direct to the father as next-of-kin, and the delay caused by remittance through the Government of India would have been avoided. I cannot trace that there has been any failure or undue delay by the India Office in supplying information. The question of the rate of exchange will be carefully considered, and if inquiry shows that there has been undue delay in India, payment will be adjusted accordingly.