HC Deb 15 February 1898 vol 53 cc629-30

I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office, with reference to the recent appointment of Mr. Donaldson as Deputy Director of the Ordnance Factories, what are the qualifications in consideration of which he has been placed over the heads of most experienced Officers of the Army who have served more than 30 years and are more than 10 years his senior; and if he will state the manufacturing firm which Mr. Donaldson has managed?


Mr. Donaldson's appointment is made in pursuance of the recommendations of Lord Morley's Committee. He is a highly-trained mechanical engineer, having a large acquaintance with processes such as are carried on at the Ordnance Factories. In his former appointment—viz., that of chief engineer of the London and India Docks—he had under his control more than 500 skilled mechanics of exactly the same description as those employed by the Government. He has a large experience in the organisation, control, and management of a factory, and is well acquainted with the proper rates of pay applicable to mechanical operations. If is not understood how it can be said that officers of the Army have been passed over, inasmuch as Army service does not qualify officers for the management of a large manufacturing undertaking. It is, however, the desire of the Secretary of State not to withhold from officers of the Army any appointment at the Ordnance Factories which they can fill with advantage, and certain further changes having that object in view are now under consideration.