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Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will state approximately the number of officers and ratings on the strength; and how many of them are ashore and afloat at the latest convenient date.

The approximate total strength of the Navy at 31st March was 190,000, including Royal Marine Police, but excluding Wrens. Of these, some 75,000 were serving afloat, the remainder including men under training, were ashore. The Wrens numbered about 7,400.

In view of the fact that His Majesty's ships cannot put to sea unless adequately manned, and in view of the fact that I am told it is very difficult for some ships to put to sea, will the hon. Gentleman see that as many ratings are put afloat as possible?

I am glad the hon. Member has now caught up with his leader, who asked the same question rather earlier. If he will read my statement on the Estimates he will see the explanation of the large number of people who are unavoidably ashore at the present time.