§ MR. E. ROBERTSON(for Mr. LABOUCHERE) (Northampton)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether Article 272 of the Queen's Regulations states—Of the total number of Chief Gunners and Chief Boatswains, including Officers holding either rank by virtue of their appointments, one-half shall be composed of Chief Gunners;whether The Navy List has, for a considerable time past, contained the names of 18 Chief Boatswains, and of 17 Chief Gunners; whether there were 18 Chief Gunners on the Active List before the retirement of Mr. Bechervaise; whether that officer, although retired, is at present doing duty at the Admiralty; and, whether he still draws full pay, and therefore keeps the number of Chief Gunners on the Active List at 17?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
Promotion to the rank of Chief Gunner is not regulated by seniority alone; but is, as in the case of Chief Boatswains and Chief Carpenters, by selection of the most deserving officers. The selection of these officers is a matter of very careful consideration, and the claims of the various officers with regard to age, seniority, and service at sea are carefully compared. The promotions made are the result of these comparisons, and not, as the hon. Member appears to infer, in consequence of favouritism on the part of any individual member of the Board. There is no intention of altering the present practice of promotion in these ranks. There are on the list at the present time 31 Chief Gunners and Chief Boatswains; of these, 17 are Chief Gunners. In the present month's Navy List there appears 18 Chief Boatswains, there happening to be that number for a few days pending the pensioning of one of these officers. There were not 18 gunners on the Active List before Mr. Bechervaise's removal. Sir An- 520 thony Hoskins had personal cognizance of Mr. Lee's good service. Mr. Bechervaise is doing duty at the Admiralty; but his vacancy was duly filled up, and his retention in his present post in no way affects, nor has affected, the number of Chief Gunners.