DS&S war gratuity petition

War gratuity petition form

A special meeting of the Luton branch of the National Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers was held at the Ivy Leaf Club, Park Street, on Saturday [May 3rd, 1919] to consider resolutions to be placed before the annual conference in Manchester on White Sunday and Whit Monday.

Chairman Mr W. B. Clay and Mr H. V. Aylott were to be the Luton delegates at a conference that would decide that the DS&S would take no part in forthcoming Peace Day celebrations while ex-servicemen continued to be unemployed. The Luton branch adhered to the resolution for the celebration in the town that ended in riot and which the organisation would disclaim any involvement.

Among the resolutions to which amendments were brought forward at the Luton meeting was one that the local branch itself had submitted. This had expressed the view that the best interests of the Federation would be served by being both non-party and non-political.

Mr Barton urged that this was going against the principle of headquarters, because if they hoped to send members to Parliament they must be political. It was pointed out that the idea was not to be Conservative or Liberal, but Mr Barton said his contention was that non-political was altogether different to being non-party.

The Chairman of the meeting (Mr H. V. Hoy) remarked that the word political was rather misleading, as most people thought it meant being either Liberals or Conservatives. They must, however, be political to have someone in Parliament to represent them.

It was agreed, on the proposition of Mr Barton, to cut out the word 'non-political'.

Another resolution urged co-operation with trades unions for the purpose of obtaining more adequate pensions and allowances for disabled men and also men still serving.

The Chairman thought they had already obtained a lot for themselves through the Federation, and had no need to go to the trades unions for their help.

The meeting endorsed the view that the Federation could look after themselves.

To a proposal that disabled men taking a course of training should receive full disability allowance for three months after completion of training, and amendment was carried to substitute the words “until a man has been found suitable employment”.

On a resolution protesting against the inadequacy of the war gratuity and against the deduction of the service gratuity, it was announced that a resolution had been sent from the executive urging that discharged men should be given the same gratuity as men of Colonial regiments.

Mr S. T. Whewall understood that some branches were getting up petitions on these lines instead of merely sending resolutions, and suggested it was a good move. The Secretary (Mr H. C. Cooper) said this was to be considered by the executive, and he thought there would be a petition put up for signature.

[The petition form illustrated above appeared in The Luton News on Thursday, May 22nd, 1919, and the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph two days later.]