§ SIR EDWARD GOURLEY (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is his intention to ask Parliament this or next Session to amend the Act limiting the enrolling of seamen for the Royal Naval Reserve to 30,000 men, for the purpose of increasing the number of first and second class seamen, and also of stokers and firemen; can he state the approximate number of permanent officers, engineers, and men that will be needed to complete the manning of the whole of the ships now in commission, as well as those that will be ready for the pennant at the close of the current financial year; and whether, in conjunction with the Lords of the Admiralty, he has formed any approximate estimate of the number of men of all ranks that will be needed for reserve purposes in the event of war; if so, will he give the numbers.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (MR. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
The hon. Member has seen my proposals for this year, to which I have nothing to add, and he must allow me to put off until next year my statement as regards future Estimates. In reply to the second question, it is im- 436 possible to state in advance what the composition of the fleet in commission will be at the close of the current financial year. My answer to the third question is that the number of men of all ranks needed for reserve purposes in the event of war will, of course, depend on the nature of the war, and I am not prepared to make a statement on the subject.