Friday, 21 July 2017

Fraudulent Claim for Separation Allowance

Men working at Balmforth factory, c.1910-20 [Z1411/1/3G]

Saturday 21st July 1917: William Saunders of Wood Street, Luton has appeared today at the Luton Police Court on a charge of illegally obtaining an allowance from the Bedfordshire Territorial Association. The proceedings were brought on the instructions of the War Office, who had decided that these cases were becoming too frequent and should therefore be heard in open Court. William Saunders son was called up at the beginning of the war, having previously worked for Messrs Balmforth’s engineering firm at Luton. No claim for a separation allowance had been made until last April, when the father declared to the Territorial Force Association that the son had paid him 17 shillings a week. The son’s former employers said it was “absolutely untrue” that his average weekly earnings were 22 shillings; they were only 10 shillings and 9 pence as he was only a labourer. The prosecution claimed it was “a barefaced attempt” to obtain an allowance to which Mr. Saunders knew he was not entitled.

In Mr. Saunders’ defence it was stated that although his wages were only 10 shillings and 9 pence, the son was able to earn a good deal more by helping the gang with whom he was working – these men would each given him a shilling, so that his total earnings came to at least 22 shillings. Mr. Saunders had only written on the application form the amount that his son paid him at home. The Bench were not convinced by this explanation. The Chairman said they considered it a serious attempt to defraud. However, as it was the first case of the kind brought before the Court they would treat it with a degree of leniency. William Saunders was fined 40 shillings with the alternative of a month’s imprisonment.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 31st July 1917

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