HC Deb 21 June 1938 vol 337 cc901-2W
Sir J. Smedley Crooke

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that, on 4th March, 1918, Mrs. L. Bailey was advised by his Department that a sum of £11 2s. 2d. due from Army funds to the estate of the late Private George Bailey, No. 46016, Royal Army Medical Corps, was the property of the deceased's son, George Thomas Louvain Bailey; that it was proposed to invest the amount in the orphans savings bank for his benefit, there to remain at compound interest of 2½ per cent. until he attained the age of 21 years; that when the orphan attained that age application was made for the amount in question, but the widow was informed that in May, 1918, a sum of £11 2s. 2d. was paid to the Rev. Samuel Hosking to be used for the benefit of the late soldier's son; that the widow had never at any time authorised the War Office to pay this money over to the Rev. Samuel Hosking; that the latter gentleman is now dead, and no information can be obtained as to whether he received the money or not; and that, in view of all the circumstances, will he see that the money due to the orphan is paid to him?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

The actual correspondence relating to this case was destroyed after retention for the period prescribed in the Schedule laid before Parliament under Section 1 of the Public Record Office Act, 1877. There is, however, a record that four days after the despatch of the War Office letter of 4th March, 1918, a letter was received from Mrs. Bailey and the Rev. S. Hosking, and a further record that in May, 1918, the sum of £11 2s. 2d. was paid to him to be used for the benefit of the son of the late Private George Bailey. The inference is that this payment was made with Mrs. Bailey's consent at the time.

The action taken was in accordance with the usual practice of the time in the matter of disposing of sums due to orphans to be applied for their benefit, if such course was considered advisable, and it would not have been in accordance with that practice to make such payments without the knowledge of the parents or guardians. Such payments may be properly made under the provisions of Section 9 of the Regimental Debts Act, 1893, and the regulations made there under, and I regret that the money cannot be paid a second time.