§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what has been the result of the tour of Captain Niblet and Paymaster Gifford, undertaken to ascertain how to improve the recruiting of shipwright ratings in the Navy; and whether it would be possible to give a return of the number of shipwrights allocated to each of the larger ships of the Fleet?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The right hon. Baronet is in error in supposing that the tour undertaken by the officers in question was undertaken to ascertain how to improve the recruiting of shipwright ratings in the Navy. They were instructed to deal with the question of recruiting generally for the Navy, and of opening up and varying sources of supply for all ratings—shipwright ratings were, of course, included. The Report is under the consideration of the Board. The House will understand that the shipwrights mentioned in the Question are men who go afloat with the 1195 shipwrights in the dockyards. The return asked for would be misleading, as artisan ratings above the rank of shipwright—i.e., men who have been shipwrights, but have advanced to leading shipwrights or carpenters' mates, should be included; but I may say, generally, that the complements for ships of a tonnage of 7,000 to 12,000 tons and upwards include seven shipwright ratings—i.e., two shipwrights and five leading shipwrights and carpenters' mates.