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Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1942

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that Flight-Lieutenant Goutrey, F.805937/41/F 7.A., took a short service commission in the Royal Air Force for four years in 1936, a gratuity of £300 to be paid upon completion of same; that just prior to termination of this service he was asked by the authorities to continue for a further two years, his gratuity to be increased to £500; that he agreed; that after the four years had terminated, but before the six years expired, he was killed; that although he had willed the £300 to his parents the authorities have refused to pay this money; and whether consideration will be given to an ex-gratia payment in this case and an alteration made in the Regulations?

The general rule governing cases such as that to which the hon. Member refers is that should an officer holding a short-service commission die before completing his initial period of service or, if he has voluntarily extended his service, before completing the extended period, no gratuity is payable to his estate. This is a term of his contract, and the reason is that gratuities of this kind are primarily intended to assist resettlement in civil life. Dependants are separately provided for by means of pensions and allowances. Similar conditions apply to the gratuities and retired pay of Crown Servants generally, and I know of no grounds on which an ex-gratia payment could be justified in this particular case.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that his Department admits that if this man had broken his continuity by only one day, £300 would have been paid? May I ask him for a reconsideration of the case? Perhaps he and I might have a chat about the circumstances surrounding it.