Disability

Nurse and patients at the Star and Garter Home, Richmond SHC ref 8711/RSP/36/10

Nurse and patients at the Star and Garter Home, Richmond
SHC ref 8711/RSP/36/10

As the war progressed and huge numbers of servicemen began to return with life-changing physical or psychological damage, the authorities realised that existing arrangements for the payment of military pensions had to be overhauled.  In November 1915, the Naval and Military War Pensions Act was passed by which responsibility for pensions for disabled men and their dependants, formerly shared between the Admiralty, Chelsea Hospital and the Army Council, passed to a Statutory Committee of the Royal Patriotic Fund.  The Statutory Committee was supported by Local Committees in each county, with Special Sub-Committees at district level.  Boroughs and Urban Districts could apply to establish their own Local Committees and ultimately Wimbledon, Richmond, Guildford, Barnes and Mortlake and Sutton all obtained these powers.  The 25 members of Surrey’s Local Committee, set up in 1916, included representatives from the County Council, employers, labour, servicemen, the Surrey Territorial Forces Association, Surrey Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association and the Surrey Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society.  The Committees’ duties were to supplement, in cases of need, pensions and allowances made from public funds to wives and dependants of servicemen, make grants to widows, make interim payments and so on.  They also arranged for the care and the subsequent employment of disabled servicemen and collected public contributions.

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