MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty—(1) how many Naval Lieutenants are now on active service, how many of them are gunnery lieutenants, and how many torpedo lieutenants, either qualifying or on the staff in each case; (2) whether gunnery and torpedo lieutenants are only required to keep watch at sea, as lieutenants, for one year; and whether, having done this, they are not required to keep watch again, when at sea, but are employed exclusively to supervise drills, keep books, and fill up returns; and (3) whether the advisabilty has been considered of training and employing Royal Marine Artillery Officers for the gunnery and torpedo work now performed by Naval lieutenants, so as to set the latter officers free for watch-keeping duties at sea?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The number of lieutenants on the active list of the Navy is 844. Included in that number are 84 gunnery and 53 torpedo 1137 lieutenants. There are ten lieutenants qualifying for gunnery duties and six for torpedo duties. The one year's watch-keeping at sea to which the hon. Member appears to refer is an antecedent condition before officers are eligible to qualify as gunnery or torpedo lieutenants. They are not, after they become gunnery or torpedo lieutenants, exempt from the duty of keeping watch when the service requires. My answer to the third question is—Yes, the question has been fully considered. The duties of the gunnery and torpedo lieutenants include some important duties for which the Royal Marine Artillery have not been trained, and, therefore, the gunnery and torpedo lieutenants would not, in the words of the hon. Member, be set free. But Royal Marine Artillery officers would be made available for gunnery duties if circumstances rendered it necessary so to employ them.