The treatment and training of disabled soldiers

The Disablements Sub-committee of the County Council’s War Pensions Committee reported with its progress finding training schemes for disabled former soldiers.

The Disablements Sub-committee beg to report that two Schemes for training disabled soldiers have been drafted after careful consideration and in consultation with Colonel Morrison, the authorities at Windsor Castle, the Windsor Institute and the University College, Reading….

These Schemes can only be successfully carried into practice under the Royal Warrant of April 17, 1917, which provides that the man’s pension shall temporarily cease while under treatment or training, and that all expenses and payments to an approved amount shall be made by the War Pensions Committee….

The period of training in the Gardens at Windsor should be at least 12 months, and should not be restricted to the period of 6 months stipulated I the provisional approval already received from the Statutory Committee.

It was also strongly urged that both these Schemes should be approved and put into operation immediately, because the delay which has already occurred has not only prevented several suitable men from receiving the benefits of this training, which they were at one time prepared to accept, but is likely, if continued, to endanger the success of any Schemes that may be introduced for the treatment and training of disabled soldiers….

The following statistics are reported to date:

Cases registered 927

Cases already considered 193

Cases needing no assistance 484

Cases which may need assistance 211

Cases to be re-considered 174

Cases awarded treatment 27

Cases awarded training 16

Approximate number of cases in hands of Sub-committee for investigation 300

Meanwhile, Berkshire County Council’s Higher Education Committee dealt with some financial implications of the war.

Higher Education Committee

In view of the uncertainties due to … the chance of termination of the War and return of teachers whose situations and annual increases have been guaranteed, it is recommended that the present arrangements should be announced as provisional…

Bursars and Student Teachers

Of 12 Bursars [trainee teachers given scholarships] appointed last year, one failed to take up the Bursary as he joined the Army… Of nine Student Teachers whose engagements terminate on 31 July, one is already on Military Service and one joins up in August…

Higher Education Sub-committee report to BCC Education Committee, 14 July 1917; Disablements Sub-committee of the War Pensions Committee report, 14 July 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Some disabled ex-soldiers are refusing to work

Berkshire County Council found the war coming close to home when its Deputy Clerk, who had joined the army soon after the start of the war, was reported killed. Meanwhile they had begun to tackle the problem of those men who had returned home from the front with a permanent disability as a result of wounds. How might they be retrained?

DEATH OF THE DEPUTY CLERK

Resolved on the motion of the Chairman [James Herbert Benyon]: That a vote of condolence be forwarded to the widow of Lieut-Col H U H Thorne in her bereavement, and that it be accompanied by an expression of the great loss sustained by the Council in the untimely, though gallant, death in action of their Deputy Clerk.

Report of the Berkshire War Pensions Committee

The War Pensions Committee commenced their work on the 1 October, 1916.

The County, in accordance with the Scheme arranged by the County Council, has been divided into twelve Sub-committees, being, for the main part, one Sub-committee for each petty sessional division; but there have been certain adjustments, for the convenience of working, between the divisions of Wokingham and Easthampstead, while the Lambourn division has been divided between Wantage and Newbury division, with the exception of the parish of Lambourn itself, which is being worked by a Secretary and Treasurer.

Almoners have been appointed for each parish throughout the County, and the Almoners and Sub-committees respectively have had powers given them to deal with all urgent cases of wives and dependants of soldiers and sailors requesting financial assistance, each case being reported to this Committee for approval or revision as the circumstances may require.

During the six months alterations have been made in the amount of the State Separation Allowances and valuable additional powers have been given to the Pensions Committee in the way of making additional grants to meet to some extent the increase in prices, and the work has been now thoroughly organised.

Since the 1 October, 1916, up to the 30 April, 1917, the Finance and General Purposes Sub-committee have dealt with 1326 cases of Advances, Supplementary and Temporary Allowances, Temporary and Emergency Grants, etc. The payments made up to the 30 April, in respect of these Allowances and Grants, amount to a sum of £2299 2s 11d.

In addition to this the Sub-committee have dealt with 33 cases of Supplementary Pensions, which have been recommended to the War Pensions etc Statutory Committee.

The other section of the work of the committee is the very important and constantly increasing work of dealing with discharged and disabled soldiers and sailors. The principle adopted has been that so soon as the notification of the discharge of a man into the county has been received, the particulars are sent down to the Secretary of the Sub-committee in whose district the man proposes to live; enquiries are made in the district as to the man’s physical condition with a view of ascertaining whether he needs further medical treatment or training for some form of employment other than that to which he was accustomed prior to his disablement, and further inquiries to ascertain whether he needs financial assistance of either a temporary or permanent character, other than that provided by his pension, if any.

Considerable difficulty has been found in many cases where men have refused to work for fear of endangering the continuance of their pension, or because they are satisfied to remain as they are for the time being at any rate with the pension that they hold. The new Royal Warrant, however, will considerably strengthen the hands of the committee, as the Ministry of Pensions are entitled to withhold a portion of a pension if a man refuses to undertake treatment which the Pensions Committee, acting on medical advice, consider necessary for him, and the Pensions Committee will be enabled to grant a Separation Allowance for the wife and children where the man is undertaking training, and, further, to pay the man a bonus for each week of a course of training which he has competed to their satisfaction.

The provision of training is a difficult matter, as the necessary organisations are few and far between. In Berkshire the committee have three Schemes in course of formation. (more…)