asked the Secretary of State for War how many legal wives of soldiers have claimed and are not receiving any allowance because, though deserted, they have not obtained any separation order from the courts?
I regret that these figures are not available. I append a note of the action taken by the military authorities in these cases.
Following is the note:
A wife who has been deserted by her soldier husband has the same remedy as the wife of a civilian, namely, to apply to the courts. If the court makes an order against her husband, the military authorities ensure that it is met, by means of compulsory stoppage from the soldier's pay together with State assistance in many cases. Since the wife may have difficulty in obtaining an order against the soldier husband, especially if he is serving abroad, she has the alternative right to appeal to the officer in charge of records (the officer deputed by the Army Council under Section 145 (2) (b) of the Army Act) who may make an order against the husband on similar lines to those the courts would employ. Such an order is enforced in the same way as a court order. If the wife takes neither of these steps to obtain an order for the maintenance of herself and her children and the soldier does not voluntarily contribute to her support, the Army Authorities take no steps to enforce payment to her.