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Royal Navy

Volume 148: debated on Wednesday 9 November 1921

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Medal Clasps


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the issue of clasps to war medals for the Fleet has yet commenced; if not, when a start will be made; whether applications will have to be made for the issue of clasps; and how are officers and men to know to what clasps they are entitled?

The issue of clasps has not yet commenced, and no date can yet be given when the issue will take place. As soon as a decision is reached, due notice will be given of the procedure to be adopted.

New Capital Ships


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention was called to the statement made by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and appearing in the Press of this country on 14th October, to the effect that the four new capital ships, the cost of which all parts of the Empire were contributing, would be British Empire ships; and can he say what proportions of the cost of these four new capital ships is being paid by the different parts of the Empire?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In his statement made on 18th August, 1921, on the subject of the Imperial Conference, the Prime Minister explained that the Dominions were consulting their respective Parliaments as regards the various proposals which they had under consideration for naval cooperation. I am unable at present to add anything to that statement in connection with the four new capital ships.

Pre-War Disability Pensions


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is now in a position to make any statement concerning the scales of the pre-War disability pensioners?

The details of these new scales have now been settled and they will be promulgated almost immediately.

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman give me the exact date when the statement will be issued, because he will remember that I have asked this question over and over again for the last 12 months?

I said "almost immediately." I will let my hon. Friend have a copy as soon as I can.

Portsmouth Dockyard (W J Whitaker)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that W. J. Whitaker joined the Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth, as skilled labourer in 1905, and remained on till early in 1917; that he joined the Royal Marines and fought in France, was invalided and discharged the service, rejoining the dockyard at once; that this man has now been discharged from the dockyard and his bonus refused him; and, if this refusal is due to his having joined the forces, will he investigate the case and remedy the apparent unfairness of the rule?

Inquiries have been made and the following are the facts of the case: Whitaker entered the dockyard in March, 1907, and was discharged in February, 1917, for being absent without leave. In April, 1917, Whitaker joined the Royal Marine Labour Corps and served until the following September; he was re-entered in the dockyard in December, 1917, and was recently discharged owing to reduction of hands. Under the Regulations Whitaker's service, prior to February, 1917, which was terminated by discharge on account of absence without leave, cannot be reckoned for gratuity, and his subsequent service is not sufficient to render him eligible for any such award.

Would not this man be in a worse position than if he had been a conscientious objector?

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that in other Government establishments representations were made in similar cases, and the prior service was granted in those cases?

I am dealing in the most sympathetic way possible with these cases, but it does not appear to me that this is a case of the kind indicated. Whitaker did not join up until two months after he left the dockyard. He then joined the Labour Corps and served in that only until September.