HC Deb 23 July 1896 vol 43 cc472-3
MR. R. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, whether he would be willing to consider the advisability of further augmenting the reserve of sailors and marines for Her Majesty's Fleet by recruiting each year 5,000 men for five years' service in the Fleet and 15 years in the Reserve, as suggested by Lord Charles Beresford in a speech recently delivered to the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce; and, whether, in view of the large number of ships at present building, he will consider the necessity of adding these men to the number of long service men on the strength of the Navy.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square

In reply to my hon. Friend, I have to state that I am not prepared to proceed on the lines suggested in the first paragraph of the Question. With regard to reserves of soldiers and marine's, nothing has happened since I submitted the Navy Estimates in March to induce me to depart in either direction from that steady, continuous, proportionate increase in the number of men which is rendered necessary by the expansion of the Fleet. I asked the House for an increase of about 5,000 men when I submitted my last Estimate. I must decline to anticipate the statement which I shall have to mate next year as to the further increase which will be required.