Widow's Pension (MRS. Rorie).

Oral Answers to Questions — Naval and Military Pensions and Grants. – in the House of Commons on 11th April 1921.

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Photo of Sir James Cory Sir James Cory , Cardiff South


asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that Mrs. Blanche M. Rorie, widow of Captain T. H. B. Rorie, of the 4th Black Watch, who was killed in action in France on 18th–19th August, 1916, while attached to the 10th Gloucesters, was awarded a flat-rate pension of £100, plus £24 (one child); whether he is aware that the introduction of alternative pensions was notified by advertisement in selected papers, and by circulation of Form F; that Form F has been admitted as misleading by the Ministry, and a promise made to amend it; whether Mrs. Rorie, until 1920, was employed by the Canadian Government Pensions Department in the remote High- lands of Scotland, never received Form F, and never saw a newspaper containing the advertisement, so that she, consequently, only applied for alternative pension in March, 1920, when she first learnt of it, and is only granted the alternative rate from that date; that this means a considerable monetary loss to Mrs. Rorie, owing to no remissness or fault of hers, but owing to ineffective methods of notification on the part of the authorities concerned; and whether he will consider antedating the alternative pension granted to Mrs. Rorie to the date allowed on the flat rate?

Photo of Mr George Tryon Mr George Tryon , Brighton

When Mrs. Rorie's flat-rate pension was awarded in 1916 by the War Office alternative pensions did not exist. They were introduced by the Royal Warrant of August, 1917, and the publication of that Warrant was given very full publicity in the Press, several newspapers reproducing it in full. In April of 1919 a handbook for the information of officers' relatives was issued, which described the alternative pension scheme, and this handbook was sent individually to all officers' widows through the Paymaster-General. It is known that Mrs. Rorie received it, because her solicitors, writing in December, 1919, in another connection, said that she had forwarded it to them. My right hon. Friend cannot admit that all reasonable steps were not taken to inform Mrs. Rorie of the benefits of the alternative pension, and he regrets that he cannot make a special exception in her favour by antedating the award.