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Royal Navy

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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Clasps (Issue)

13.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the cause of the delay in issuing the clasps which are due to be awarded in accordance with Fleet Order No. 2,051?

Owing to the urgent need for economy which has arisen since the announcement referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend, it has been found necessary to suspend action in this matter.

Does the right hon. Gentleman really mean that from motives of economy, these officers are to be deprived of the bars of their medals?

It is not a question of depriving, but the work of settling all the clasps takes a great deal of time, and involves the employment of a very considerable staff.

Are they justified in wearing bars on the miniatures, which they purchase at their own cost?

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will give me notice of that question.

When will the clasps be issued—in six months, a year, or five years, or when?

Are we to understand that the issue is merely postponed, or postponed sine die?

Brazilian Centenary Of Independence

15.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what Powers have so far decided to send ships or squadrons to represent them at Rio de Janeiro; and if he can give the names of the ships which will be present?

19.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what British vessels of war are stationed on the East coast of South America; and what will be the nearest British warships to Rio de Janeiro when the exhibition is being held?

As regards the first question, I understand that it is the intention for the following men-of-war to be present at the Brazilian Centenary of Independence at Rio de Janeiro:

  • United States of America—3 dreadnought battleships.
  • Japan—3 old armoured cruisers.
  • Argentina—1 dreadnought battleship.
  • Chile—1 dreadnought battleship.
  • Portugal—1 sloop.
With my Noble and gallant Friend's permission, I will circulate the names of the ships in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It is also probable that France and Italy will send ships, but nothing is yet definitely decided. As regards the second question, none of His Majesty's ships are stationed on the East coast of South America. The nearest British men-of-war to Rio de Janeiro will be those attached to the North America and West Indies station.

Does the effect of that answer amount to this, that the only great maritime Power unrepresented at Rio will be this country, as at present arranged?

May I ask why it is that the British Navy, which had so much to do with the freeing of the South American Republics, is going to be the only big Navy unrepresented at this great national festival?

Will the right hon. Gentleman most seriously consider this question, as it is a matter of great importance to this country that it should be represented at the Rio de Janeiro Centenary Exhibition?

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire what it would cost to send out battleships?

Why is it that our Navy is not to be represented at the centenary of the birth of Republics, but is only engaged in trying to suppress them?

The names of the ships detailed to be present at the Centenary are as follow:

  • United states of America—Maryland, Nevada, Arkansas or Utah.
  • Japan—Idzumo, Iwate, Asama.
  • Argentina—Morena or Rivadarvia.
  • Chile—Almirante Latorre (late Canada).
  • Portugal—Republica or Carvalho Aranjo.

Lieutenant-Commanders (Pay)

16.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on what grounds the payment of their rank was withheld from the officers of the rank of lieutenant-commander who were promoted to the rank of commander on the 31st March, 1922, and ante-dated to the 1st January, 1922 and whether it is intended to allow such an unsatisfactory state of affairs to continue?

A Lieutenant-Commander who is promoted to the rank of Commander while holding an appointment must, under the Regulations, be reappointed in the higher rank before he can receive the pay of that rank. In general, this Regulation, which is of long standing, gives rise to no difficulty, since a promoted officer is either re-appointed in the higher rank from the date of promotion, if the post is one authorised for an officer of either rank, or else immediately relieved, if the post is authorised only for an officer of the lower rank. The announcement of the promotions due on the 31st December last was, however, delayed until the end of March, and consequently those officers who held posts authorised only for Lieutenant-Commanders could receive only the pay of that rank for an exceptionally long period extending over three months. As I stated in my reply of the 14th June, the case of these particular officers is now under consideration; but apart from specially considering the case of these particular officers, which is admittedly exceptional, the Admiralty see no reason for interfering with the present Regulation, which has worked satisfactorily for many years.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in no fewer than five cases the officers were re-appointed, that in the remainder of the cases they were not re-appointed, and that therefore a difference was made as between some of these officers, and does he realise that there is very great feeling and that these officers' promotion was delayed through no fault of their own, because the Government had further to consider them?

Of course, the officers were only re-appointed in those posts which could be held by either Commanders or Lieut.-Commanders. They could not have been re-appointed Commanders in posts which are only held by Lieutenants.

As these are very exceptional cases, cannot the Admiralty give serious consideration to making an exception in the cases of these five officers?

Widows' Pensions

17.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is still willing to accept, or in any way assist, a contributory scheme of pensions for the widows of the officers and men of the Royal Navy; and if such a scheme can be considered and put in hand forthwith?

It is understood that this subject was considered by the representatives at the recent inter-port meeting held under the Welfare Machinery, and is dealt with in one of their requests. It will be considered by the Admiralty in conjunction with the rest of the requests, when these have been forwarded through the Commanders-in-Chief, but I am afraid that I cannot in the meantime give any indication of what the decision will be on such a large and difficult question.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this matter was considered by one of his predecessors, who favourably entertained the proposal, and will he look at it from the national point of view?

I think the conditions of service have improved very materially in other respects.

Engineer Officers

18.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he can explain why engineer officers, Royal Navy, entered prior to 1903, are the only officers or men who are not allowed to count their acting or probationary time; and if he is aware that in every other branch, as well as the engineering branch itself after 1903, acting or probationary time does count?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply of the 31st May to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy).