Oral Answers to Questions — British Army (Officers Retired).

– in the House of Commons on 29th June 1931.

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Photo of Mr John McShane Mr John McShane , Walsall

53.

asked the Secretary of State for War on what grounds the services of three regular officers of the rank of major were recently dispensed with; why at the same time the salaries of three colonels were increased proportionately to the salaries thus saved; and whether, since one of these officers had only eight months to serve to qualify for a pension, he is prepared to reinstate him in the service for at least that period?

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

The retirement of the three majors of the Army Educational Corps referred to was carried out in connection with the reorganisation of the corps, full particulars of which I circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT on 18th February last. Provision was made, on reorganisation, for two colonels in lieu of lieutenant-colonels in the establishment of the corps, one on the Home and one on the Indian establishment, for whom remuneration is being granted at the rates appropriate to those ranks and in relation to other ranks in the corps. The officer refered to in the last part of the question was granted special compensation, namely, gratuity of £2,900 in lieu of the gratuity of £1,000 to which he would have been entitled had he retired voluntarily. He would not normally have been eligible for a pension until the completion of 20 years' service. The grant of a pension after 15 years' service is in itself a special concession only granted to officers specially retired with compensation, and it would not have been justifiable, or indeed equitable to others, to retain the services of the officer in question for a further seven or eight months in order to allow him to complete 15 years' service with a view to receiving pension in lieu of gratuity.

Photo of Mr John McShane Mr John McShane , Walsall

Is it not a hardship that an officer should be within seven or eight months of his pension and then be dismissed?

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

I admit that it is a hard case, but obviously the regulations must be carried out, and some cases will appear harder than others. The officer, however, retires at the age of 48 with a gatuity of £2,900 and with a profession.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

Is it not a fact that another of these officers was retired at the age of 57, six weeks before he would have qualified for a pension?

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

Not that I am aware of; I am not aware of those facts.