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Seamen Ratings (Releases)

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1947

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65 and 66.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1) if he is aware that for the purpose of demobilisation, the seamen's branch of the Royal Navy is placed in Group 66 and that this group is considerably behind other categories; and if it is proposed to adjust this disparity:

(2) if he is aware that Royal Marines in Group 72 who were called up approximately 12 months after seamen in Group 66 will be released several months before the latter group; and what is the reason for this disparity.

All seamen ratings are not in age and service group 66. They are given age and service groups according to age and date of entry in exactly the same way as other ratings. It is not possible, at present, to release the age and service groups of seamen ratings at the same speed, group for group, as ratings of other categories. For this reason it is possible, but not certain, that Group 72 of the Royal Marines will be released two months before Group 66 of Seamen. No dates for the release of these groups have yet been published. Since the first announcement of the release scheme, it has been made clear that it would not be possible to release age and service groups in the different branches at the same rate. The disparity has been reduced by the transfer from time to time of men from surplus branches to shortage branches, but at this late stage adjustments of this nature are not practicable because of the time occupied in re-training and the short period of further service to be expected from the ratings concerned before their turn also comes for release.

Would the hon. Gentleman consider issuing a Fleet Order clarifying the position, because there is a lot of disquiet and confusion about it?

I am satisfied that in this case it is quite clearly known, but if for any reason I thought it was not, naturally, I would consider the suggestion. My information, however, is perfectly clear that the people do know about it.