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War Office Registry

Volume 161: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1923

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what are the duties of the Department of the War Office Registry and the total personnel of each grade, and the cost of this Department, now and in 1913?

As the answer to this question is very long, I will, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The numbers by grades of the Registry staff in 1913 and at present are as follows:—

Chief Examiner1
Staff Clerk1
Second Division, Higher Grade14
Second Division13
Assistant Clerk7
Boy Clerk3
Principal Presskeeper1
Assistant Principal Presskeeper2
Established Presskeeper22
Senior Staff Clerk1
Staff Clerk1
Higher Clerical7
Junior Executive1
Second Division, Higher Grade1
Clerical Officer34
Temporary Clerk (Ex-Soldiers)50
Principal Presskeeper1
Assistant Principal Presskeeper2
Established Presskeeper22
Temporary Presskeeper11
(including 9 to be released by the end of March).

Excluding those about. to be released, the present staff of the Registry is less than twice the size of the staff in 1913, despite the fact that the volume of incoming correspondence received in the office—over which the Department can exercise no control—is still more than twice the pre-War volume and amounts to well over a million letters a year.

The total cost of the staff in 1913 was£11,297. The cost at the present time is £31,662 inclusive of bonus.

The duties of this Central Registry, which serves the whole office, are as follows:

Receipt, registration and distribution of letters etc.—Despatch of letters, books and parcels. Daily record of transit of registered papers. Custody of registered papers. Index of important decisions. Despatch of correspondence for Military Commands and for Missions abroad. General correspondence with General Post Office on postal etc. matters. Weeding of War Office papers with a view to the destruction of those now obsolete. Encoding, decoding and distribution of telegrams.

In addition to the above staff, there is a small temporary section of retired civil servants re-employed who are engaged in the task of weeding the very large number of papers which have accumulated during the War.