HC Deb 30 November 1920 vol 135 cc1133-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the injuries inflicted on Mr. Hitchman, his wife and child, by the negligence of an Army lorry driver in June, 1919; whether Mr. Hitchman suffered a compound fracture of the left leg and a sprained wrist, his wife a broken collar bone, broken arm, concussion of the brain, and permanent destruction of the sight of one eye, and the child cuts on face and one hand seriously mutilated and partially destroyed; whether, on an application for compensation, the War Office defence was that the Army driver was not driving on Army business at the time of the accident; and whether this is a reputable defence for the Government to set up in such a case?


I am aware of the circumstances of this case. I am advised that, had the driver of the Army lorry been in private employ, Mr. Hitchman would have had no claim against his employer, and I am unable to admit, on the part of a public Department, a liability which would not attach to any other employer in similar circumstances. The car was taken out without authority and in disobedience of orders. I may add the driver was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment with hard labour.