asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that in many cases when ratings are invalided from the Royal Navy the wife's allowance is stopped immediately, but no papers are received from the Admiralty for some considerable time; that during the period that elapses before it is decided what gratuity or pension shall be paid to these invalided ratings considerable distress is caused, especially when the man has to proceed to a sanatorium; and whether he will consider continuing the rating's allotment, etc., until his case for pension or gratuity has been settled?
I am glad to be able to assure the hon. and gallant Member that the position is not as suggested in the first part of his question. In the case of ratings invalided, pay, allotment and marriage allowance are continued for 28 days from the date of the medical survey and in all normal cases the question of pension or gratuity is settled during this period. It occasionally happens that a rating is retained in hospital over the 28 days, and if in such a case he is entitled to pension, payment to him does not commence until his discharge from hospital, but his wife is eligible to receive money allowances from Greenwich Hospital Funds in the interim. If the hon. and gallant Member has information of any cases in which there appears to have been a departure from the procedure indicated and will give me particulars, I shall be glad to have inquiry made.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the last few days I have sent to him an actual case from my constituency, respecting a seaman who was invalided under these circumstances, and whose wife is now in great distress? Will he see that the man's papers are sent on with the least possible delay, so that, for example, the British Legion can conduct his case?