§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whe- 546 ther every Assistant Paymaster in the Royal Navy has qualified to serve as Paymaster; whether the rank of Assistant Paymaster is considered as a temporary or probationary one, pending promotion to the higher rank; whether it is a fact that between thirty-five and forty Assistant Paymasters are at present actually performing the duties of Paymaster in small ships; and, whether he will state on what principle a line is drawn at the first six years of such service, that period of junior service only being allowed to count until eleven years have been served in the rank of Paymaster?
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
Sir, every clerk, on passing the examination for paymaster, becomes an assistant paymaster, and there is no further examination or qualification required for promotion to the higher rank of paymaster. The rank of assistant paymaster has no more of a temporary or probationary character than any ether rank in the Service from which an officer can be promoted to a higher rank; it is simply a lower grade of the accountant branch of the Service. It is not customary to bear paymasters in small ships; assistant paymasters have quite sufficient experience to enable them to discharge the comparatively light duties involved; and, while performing them, they receive extra pay and are appointed "in charge." The Estimates for this year provide for 40 such appointments. The rule to which the hon. Member refers, as to collating six years of junior service, is part of a scale laid down in 1870 for the counting of junior time, which scale is applicable to navigating and engineer officers, as well as to paymasters. I have no means of knowing the reasons which led to the adoption of the particular periods laid down; but I imagine that the intention was, on the one hand, to prevent officers with the prospectively longer period of junior service, contemplated in 1870, from rising too rapidly to the higher rates of pay; and, on the other hand, to allow officers with long service in the junior rank to obtain some eventual advantage from it in the higher rank. It is not intended to make any alteration in the conditions of service.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked the hon. Gentleman, if he would inquire whether the system worked unjustly, 547 and, if so, whether the Government would take steps to remedy it?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
, in reply, said, he must remind the hon. Gentleman that he had already answered the Question, by stating that the Government intended to make no alteration.