asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that compensation for loss of officer's kit due to enemy action is subject to depreciation amounting in some cases to 50 per cent.; and will he take steps to see that an officer is not financially penalised by reason of enemy action.
An officer is responsible for the maintenance of his kit from his emoluments. If kit is lost, in circumstances in which compensation is admissible, the compensation is based on the reasonable cost of replacement of the articles specified in a published list, less an abatement for wear and tear. This abatement takes into account the estimated useful life of the article lost but in no case exceeds 50 per cent. of its value new. If depreciation were ignored, the officer who lost his kit would be at an advantage over the officer who had to replace his kit when it was worn out.
asked the Secretary of State for War how many of the troops who took part in the battle of El Alamein and who left their kit at the base in Cairo have now discovered articles of personal equipment to be missing from their baggage; and whether replacements or compensation in full is provided by the Army authorities.
I regret that I have no particulars which would enable me to answer the first part of the Question. Replacement is made, in cash or kind, of all articles of personal equipment necessary for the performance of military duties. Other personal property is, generally speaking, carried by the owner at his own risk.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in one regiment, which left its kit bags in Cairo, practically every officer's kit was tampered with; that many of the men received nothing but empty kit bags, and that they have been told that they will receive no compensation?
If these were articles of equipment and not bulky personal belongings, which were not necessary for active service, it seems to me that the individuals concerned have been wrongly informed. Perhaps the hon. Member will let me have particulars of the regiment and I will investigate the matter.