§ CAPTAIN DONELAN
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty will he explain why several Fleet Paymasters of the Royal Navy who have attained the age for optional retirement have recently been refused permission to retire, but directed to apply again in two or three months; whether, in the event of their request being granted later on, they will be ante-dated to the dates of their applications, in order to prevent serious pecuniary loss to these officers; and whether there are 20 assistant paymasters of over 10 years' standing available to fill the vacancies of officers allowed to retire under the regulations?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
Optional retirement has been suspended in the cases referred to by the honourable and gallant Member, because the services of the officers cannot be dispensed with. There are, no doubt, assistant paymasters fit for promotion, but the total number of senior paymasters and assistant paymasters together is not more than is wanted under present conditions. The privilege of optional retirement is always dependent 1449 on the exigencies of the service, so that there is no question of any officer refused retirement before the regular age for retirement having any claim in respect of pecuniary loss.