§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is usual for a sailor in the Royal Navy, on leaving the training ship as a boy for a man-of-war, to pass through the several gradations of ordinary seaman, trained man, able seaman, and subsequently to undergo a course of gunnery training in the school for that purpose; whether untrained men not above the rank of ordinary seamen have been drafted from the Channel Fleet for service in China; and, if so, how many; and will these untrained men be placed 628 on active service on shore without any previous qualification for taking the field, or will any steps be taken that they should be fully trained and instructed in musketry before their employment in active service.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALLY (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
I think the hon. Member has made a confusion between gunnery and musketry. All seamen entered as boys have naturally to pass through certain grades in the course of their service and receive the training prescribed for such grades. The course of the question must not be confused with instruction in musketry, in which all first-class boys are trained. No boys or men untrained in musketry would be drafted to ships on stations abroad. The men and boys sent to the China station have been drafted in the ordinary way.