HC Deb 19 June 1890 vol 345 cc1372-3
MR. HANBURY (Preston)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether a special Naval recruiting party has recently visited various industrial centres; how long it has been so engaged, and at what cost; how many stokers and engine-room artificers respectively it has recruited; and what is the present deficiency, if any, of stokers and engine-room artificers respectively?


The recruiting party in question started early in January last, with, the object of endeavouring to raise men for the Navy in districts not worked by the ordinary recruiting agents of the Admiralty, the Navy being now mainly supplied with recruits from London and the southern and western counties. The additional cost of the party up to May 31 last is estimated at about £1,200, including the difference between the full and half-pay of the officers employed. The officer in charge reported recently that he had raised, in addition to other ratings, 110 stokers, but no engine-room artificers. The party might have raised more stokers, but the number entered through the ordinary recruiting agencies, partly, no doubt, on account of the publicity given to the proceedings of the recruiting party, was so great that the Admiralty found it necessary last month to stop all entries at the very time when the direct efforts of the recruiting party were meeting with the most success. There is no deficiency at present in the number of stokers or engine-room artificers required.

ADMIEAL MAYNE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the growing importance of the stokers and leading stokers to the Royal Navy, and of the fact that no improvement has taken place in their position for the last 20 years, he will consider their claims to be placed on the same footing as the seamen class of Her Majesty's Navy, and granted the second class rating, the 2d. a day on re-engaging for the second 10 years, and the progressive pay and other advantages which have been granted to the seamen during that period; and whether he would give a Return showing the comparative percentage of seamen and stokers who re-engage after 10 years' service, and who are lost to the Service by death, desertion, discharge, invaliding, or purchase during the first 10 years?


The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension in supposing that no improvement has taken place in the position of stokers and loading stokers in the Royal Navy during the last 20 years. During the last five years their prospects have been improved by the establishment among them of the rating of chief petty officer, carrying with it since 1887 a scale of pay ranging from 2s. 11d. to 3s. 5d. a day, while within the same period an allowance of 1d. a day has been granted for the qualification of "trained man," and 3d. a day for that of "stoker mechanic." Stokers have also been admitted to the coastguard, the privileges of which are now granted to a considerable number of them. I have had a careful comparison made between the position of the stoker ratings and that of the seamen class, and will publish it in the form of a Memorandum.