HC Deb 13 June 1892 vol 5 c896

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what inducements, if any, are held out to the junior officers of the Navy to acquire foreign languages, and if periodical examinations are held; and if he is aware that French officers who visited England last year expressed surprise at the deficiency in this respect of the English naval officers?


The Admiralty attach great importance to the knowledge of French and other foreign languages, and have in the last few years done much to encourage its acquisition by naval officers. In the competitive entrance examination for the training ship "Britannia," 250 marks are allotted to French out of the total 1,150 marks allowed for the compulsory subjects. A naval cadet receives instruction in French throughout the four terms of his course in the "Britannia," and twice a year prizes are awarded for proficiency in that language. Every year junior officers afloat are examined in French and other subjects, at which certain prizes are offered for special attainments in foreign languages. Arrangements have been made to secure the services of French teachers for the junior officers of certain large ships, when lying for considerable periods in certain foreign ports, and also those naval officers who are interpreters receive remuneration for teaching junior officers. In addition various inducements are offered to naval officers to qualify themselves in foreign languages, after they cease to be junior officers, such as extra pay as interpreters and opportunities of studying on full pay abroad.