Thursday, January 17, 2008

WWI British Army surviving child benefits

I have contacted the National Archives and, and I am unable to locate what I am looking for. My mother was adopted in 1912 in Scotland, the man that adopted her went to war in 1914. He died in 1920 (not as a result of the war, he died of lung cancer). At the time of his death he was collecting a British Army pension, (on his death certificate it states war pensioner). I assume he must have been disabled in some way. My question is: would my mother have been eligible to receive any pension after his death in 1920. He was NOT an officer. Thank you in advance.


As you no doubt know, there are over a million British Army pensions online at See DearMYRTLE’s blog entry WWI British Army Pension Records online at Ancestry. From an online leaflet of the PRO (Public Record Office) British Army Pension Records (Records Information Leaflet No. 123) there are explanations about the registers, eligibility, widows benefits and the following quotation concerning children & dependent relatives allowances:

Children and Dependent Relatives' Allowances The Compassionate Fund was created to give relief to children of deceased officers [emphasis added] who were incapable of maintaining themselves. The mother or guardian of the children had to swear an oath, that they were legitimate children of the deceased officer and that they had no other allowance, or pension from the government of Great Britain or Ireland and if they were claiming on behalf of a boy, that he was not 18 years of age or on behalf of a girl that she was not 21 years of age or married.

From 1720 pensions were paid from the Compassionate Fund and the Royal Bounty to children and dependent relatives of deceased officers [emphasis added]. Records of those on the Compassionate List, names and amounts paid only, 1779-1812, can be found in WO 24/771-803. Registers and amounts received by those placed on the Compassionate List, 1815-1894, are in WO 23/113-123.Ledgers recording payments from the Compassionate Fund and the Royal Bounty, 1812-1916, are in PMG 10 and also PMG 5/7-11 covering the period, 1840-1855. Claims by widows of officers [emphasis added] for payments from the Compassionate Fund, 1803-1860 can be found in WO 4/521-590 and ledgers concerning payment to those on the Compassionate List, 1837-1921, are in PMG 18.

WO 25/3124 covers 1773-1812 and gives details of those on the Compassionate List and in some cases name of relatives receiving payments. WO 25/3118-3119 covers 1827-1846 and provides the following information concerning those people claiming from the Compassionate List. Name of person, number and name of officer, rank, regiment, service details, date of marriage, number of children, scale of payment. These registers are arranged chronologically.”

From this explanation, it would appear that your mother was not entitled to a British Army Pension as a child, because her father was not an officer. There is mention that the mother of the child had to swear an oath that the legitimate child had no other allowance or pension from the government of Great Britain, which implies there were other allowances or pensions to which a child might be entitled. A disability pension comes to mind, though I am unsure of your mother’s eligibility in that regard.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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