Britain's forgotten war widows call on next PM to reinstate their lost pensions

Hundreds of war widows who remarried before 2015 are still not allowed to receive monthly compensation payments for the death of their husbands

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Britain’s "forgotten" war widows are calling on whoever becomes the new Prime Minister to right an historic wrong and reinstate their war widow pensions.

Until 2015, those whose partners died in active service were stripped of their pensions, if they remarried.

Although the law was changed seven years ago, hundreds of war widows who remarried before 2015 have not been included in the new system and are still not allowed to receive the monthly compensation payments for the death of their husbands.

The only way under the law that they can obtain their widows’ pensions, worth on average £7,000-a-year, is by divorcing their new spouses and making themselves single again.

GB News has spoken exclusively to a group of war widows, who said they felt deeply traumatised by a government that seemed determined to penalise them for trying to move on with their lives.

Bill Vivian, husband of Jude Howcroft
Bill Vivian, husband of Jude Howcroft

Jude Howcroft from Lincolnshire was widowed in 1998 after her husband Bill was killed in a flying accident, while at the controls of his RAF Tornado.

She said her husband had spoken to her in the months before his death about the risks of the job and insisted that if “the worst ever happened” she should try her very best to move on with her life.

Seven years later, she found love again and remarried.

But in doing so, her war widow payments were immediately halted and have never been reinstated, despite the change in law ensuring any new war widows and widowers still receive their compensation.

Iain Bouldy, husband of Margaret Allen
Iain Bouldy, husband of Margaret Allen

The RAF widow said she felt guilty and judged because of her decision to try to live her life again.

“When your husband sacrifices his life in the service of his country, there is an unspoken rule that the country will look after us. And it’s failed in that duty.

“The Royal Air Force was his number one priority. I was number two, but that was fine. The Air Force came first and foremost in everything that he did. But the understanding was there that if the worst was to happen, they were there for you.”

Jude said she felt guilty and angry at the way the Government had treated her and hundreds of other war widows, simply for trying to move on.

Iain Bouldy
Iain Bouldy

“It took a long time. I don’t think people realise, there is a guilt in falling in love again.

“You question, did I honestly love my first husband. But I did, I loved him completely.

“When I had to give up the compensation payments, it was almost as if I was being judged, that how dare I find love again. I clearly couldn’t have loved my first husband.

“It just makes me so angry that you’re dismissed that way.”

The widows said they gained backing from Liz Truss in 2018, when she was Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

They told GB News that the now Tory leadership frontrunner assured them that the pension payments would be reinstated.

Iain Bouldy
Iain Bouldy

Former Chair of the War Widows Association, Mary Moreland said: “It’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s discrimination.

“The compensation, which is called the war widows pension, is the only tangible link these individuals have to their late husband dying in the service of their country.”

Margaret Allen, whose husband Iain was killed onboard the warship HMS Argonaut in the Falklands 40 years ago, said she was still deeply affected by his loss, even though she found a new partner some years later.

Margaret has called on Liz Truss to keep the promise she made in 2018.

“I would say to her, please stand by that promise and resolve this and resolve it quickly.

“Seven years, we’ve been campaigning on this issue. Seven years worth of stress and trauma. Enough is enough.”

GB News has reached out to the Liz Truss campaign for comment. But they have yet to respond.

Campaigners say the situation needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency, as dozens of war widows have already died without resolution.

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