War Pensions

At the beginning of the war the pensions and allowances to soldiers injured in the war or to the families of those who lost someone were very limited. On 16th November 1914 Dungarvan Town Council discussed a letter received from the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Patriotic Fund enclosing a cheque of £3 for Mrs. Mary Power for the loss of her son at the Battle of Mons. The Council decided to give the money altogether to Mrs. Power and to pay her this amount weekly "...and they further directed the Clerk to call attention to the small amount awarded".

The Naval and Military Pensions Act 1915 was an act introduced to “make better provision as to the pensions, grants and allowances made in respect of the present war to officers and men in the Naval and Military Service of His Majesty and their dependants, and the care of officers and men disabled in consequence of the present war.”

On 22nd February 1916, the Secretary of the Statutory Committee, Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation wrote to Waterford County Council to inform the Council that in accordance with the War Pensions Act, 1915 a Local Committee should be established in every County for the purpose of assisting the Statutory Committee.

On 16th May 1916, Waterford City Council resolved:

“That a “Local Committee” under The Naval and Military War Pensions Act, 1915 be appointed to consist of 31 members viz: 16 members of the Council as following: The Mayor, High Sheriff, Aldermen Hearne, Hackett, Murray. Councillors Fitzgerald (W), Poole, Hyland, Hearne, Kirwan, Keane, O’Neill, Walsh, Mac Donnell, Dawson and Croke. Soldiers and Sailors Families Association as follows: Mrs. W. Kearney, Miss Arnold, Miss Grant, Miss Power, Miss Stephenson, Mrs. Oakshott, Miss Nellie Lynch, Miss Deevy, Mrs. G.H. Kelly and Mrs. J. T. Shortis. Chamber of Commerce: The President. The Harbour Boards: The Chairman. The Trades Council: The President and Secretary and Mr. Patrick Nolan, Labour Representative."

As the Local War Pensions Committees began to establish and do their work there was a push to ensure that service personnel were fully represented on the Committees. The Local War Pensions Committee submitted an estimate of costs for local pensions to the Council for approval and it was important to those seeking pensions that the Committees adequately represented their interests. On 26th February 1918, Waterford County Council approved of a supplemental scheme servicing the scheme regulating the constitution of the Local Committee for the County under the War Pensions Act, 1915 increasing the total number of the Committee to 32 and “that this number should include at least two disabled men who have been discharged from naval or military service and a woman who is in receipt of a pension as a widow or other dependant of a man in naval or military service who had died from causes marking out of his service during the present war”. On 9th April agreed to ask the County War Pensions Committee to suggest the names of three additional members for their Committee.

On 5th March 1918, Waterford City Council resolved that the question of the representation of the National Federation of Discharged and Immobilised Sailors and Soldiers be referred to the Finance and Law Committee and that Messrs. McLean and Cleary, two members of the Federation Committee be requested to attend meeting.

On 8th October 1918, the County Waterford Local Committee under the War Pensions Act forwarded a resolution recommending that Mr. William Foley, Main Street, Dungarvan be appointed to replace Mr. Roger Kiely who had resigned from their Committee.

On 25th January 1919, the Minister of Pensions wrote with regard to the vacancy in the Local War Pensions Committee caused by the resignation of Mr. Kiely stating “...it appeared the Ancient Order of Hibernians on whose recommendation he was appointed recommended Mr. Foley in his place and under article 5 (1) of the scheme constituting the Local Committee it had consequently devolved on the County Council to appoint Mr. Foley as a member of the Committee and it should be done at the earliest possible date”. The Council appointed Mr. Foley a member of the County Waterford War Pensions Committee.

In addition to pensions the soldiers were also provided with medical assistance. On 14th June 1918 Waterford County Council was contacted by the Local Government Board to inform them that new arrangements had been made for the provision of Residential Treatment for Tuberculosis Discharged Soldiers under which the whole cost of treatment provided in so far as it was not met out of insurance funds would be met by the Exchequer.

The 1914-1920 Army Pension Records have been digitised by the National Archives, UK and are available to search on ancestry.com. To access the Army Service and Pension Records click here.

Related images

John J. Drohan and his daughter Minnie