HC Deb 05 March 1928 vol 214 cc830-1W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can give a full list of naval hospitals at home and abroad; the number of beds in each hospital; and the number of personnel attached to each hospital?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

The particulars are as follow:

Secretary of State in 1923; that Mr. Reddock's unexpected and premature discharge was officially explained to him as being due to his re-engagement having been found to be irregular and to have been recorded as a result of an official error, and that, owing to this mistake, his pension is smaller than it would be had he been retained in the Force, according to the terms of his re-enlistment, until March, 1929; and whether, seeing that Mr. Reddock was not responsible for the error made, his pension will be increased by way of compensation for his premature discharge?


As regards the first part of the question, the ex-warrant officer in question was discharged under paragraph 593 (2a) of the King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions for the Royal Air Force, that is, with a view to pension after completing the full period of service necessary to qualify for pension. As regards the remaining parts, the facts are that he was irregularly permitted in 1919 (a time of great pressure owing to demobilisation) to reengage to complete 21 years total service, inclusive of Reserve service, and the fact that Reserve service was included was indicated in the re-engagement paper which he signed. The re-engagement was irregular because he had not then completed 9 years' service on his current engagement. The re-engagement was further erroneously referred to in Daily Routine Orders and in Record Office communications as being an engagement to complete 21 years colour service. Such a re-engagement would have been contrary to the terms of the Air Force Act, and when the error was discovered the ex-warrant officer was informed that he would be discharged in accordance with his re-engagement, that is, in November, 1925, on completion of 21 years' service in all. In other words, although the re-engagement in 1919 was irregular, he was not penalised on that account and was allowed to serve until he had earned a pension. There was no statutory authority to allow him to re-engage to serve until March, 1929, nor is there any power to grant him compensation in the shape of increased pension because he was discharged before that date.