The widows whose husbands were reported as “Missing” had a very bad time. After six months their allowance was
reduced from a separation allowance to a widow’s pension which was less money. They could not draw death insurance because they had no death certificate. One Company, however, paid a woman on my very strong protest. I said a question should be asked in the House and they asked me to arrange this as they felt the injustice of the position. But I said I thought this was their business and not mine and I had quite enough to do
Our pension office eventually moved from the Poplar Toynbee Settlement House to a room over a fried fish shop in Poplar High Street. We were told we must furnish it from the County Council Stores. We had no covering on the floor, only a desk I had contributed, and only hard Windsor chairs. I asked for a revolving desk chair with cushion for back but there was not one to be found. We had to pay our fares and telephone calls, there was no allowance for expenses.
One day I had occasion to call at the offices of the Ministry of Pensions in Whitehall. There was a
beautiful carpet on the floor, very comfortable chairs and a glorious fire. As the officials there had salaries and I had none I thought we might have had a little decent comfort in which to do our strenuous work.