‘Dead, missing or prisoner of war?’ – classifying men lost in action

Barbara Hately-Broad

in War and Welfare

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780719078545
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702352 | DOI:
‘Dead, missing or prisoner of war?’ – classifying men lost in action

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This chapter elaborates the different scales of allowances that were applicable depending on whether the serviceman was deemed to be missing, prisoner of war or killed. For many families, the point at which a missing breadwinner changed from being categorised as ‘missing’ to ‘presumed dead’ or ‘prisoner of war’ was often critical in terms of family budgeting. The chapter explains how the lack of a coherent policy on length of payment of temporary allowances and the length of time taken to make decisions on these matters affected the finances of the families concerned. It raises the question of why the government chose to extend the ‘missing’ allowances on a short-term basis rather than agree a workable solution for the duration of hostilities, throughout 1941 to 1945.

Keywords: missing breadwinner; prisoner of war; presumed dead; family budgeting; coherent policy

Chapter.  12524 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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