HC Deb 05 April 1944 vol 398 cc2020-1W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that, in the lists so far published of services which are entitled to wear the Service chevrons, there is no mention of the Gas Identification Service; and whether he will include this Service in the award of chevrons.

Mr. H. Morrison

The possibility of including the Gas Identification Service in the list of services eligible for the award of war service chevrons is under consideration.

Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will reconsider the conditions which govern the granting of the medal recommended for 'meritorious service with gratuity; whether, as only two such 'medals are issued for each regiment, the number of years which elapse between the retiring on pension and the receipt of the award is about 30 to 35; why a recommended soldier cannot receive the award immediately on retirement and thus benefit from it before he becomes very aged; and what would be the cost of the change to the State.

Sir J. Grigg

The average number of years between the discharge to pension of a warrant officer or sergeant who is a registered candidate for the award of the Meritorious Service Medal with annuity and the receipt of the award is about 30 to 35 The average number of awards to cavalry regiments is 2, but the average for infantry regiments is 5. The object of the Meritorious Service Medal with annuity is that a strictly limited number of ex-regular soldiers should receive an additional benefit for their good service. The grant of the annuities by seniority from lists of eligible applicants allows the greatest number of individuals to benefit from the provision, although the period during which they individually hold an annuity is reduced. If the annuities were given to men who had just been discharged the recipients might hold them for many years but others would have no chance at all of receiving such an annuity. No extra cost would be involved by making such a change but I am not in favour of it. If all registered candidates were to receive the award immediately on discharge the additional cost would be of the order of £100,000 a year. This would involve increasing the number of annuities from 750 to about 10,000 and I do not consider that this change, which would entirely alter the character of the award, is justified.

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