LORD CHARLES BEKESFORD
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he will state the number of engineer officers short in the Fleet, both at home and abroad, specifying the number in the following ranks, viz.: chief engineer, engineer, and assistant engineers, also the number of engine-room ratings short in the following ranks, viz.: engine-room artificers (stating trades), boiler makers, engine fitters, also the number of stoker ratings short throughout the Fleet; also the number of engineers now doing duty in lieu of chief engineer, and the number of assistant engineers now doing duty in lieu of engineer; also the regulation number of engine-room ratings required at home ports for care and maintenance parties of battleships, first-class cruisers, second-class cruisers, third class cruisers, gun vessels, and torpedo-boat destroyers respectively; and also the average number of engine-room ratings employed at home ports, at the present date, for care and maintenance parties of the class of ships named in the preceding paragraph.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The matters to which the noble Lord's question refer are of importance. There is a shortage with respect to most of the ratings referred to in the first part of the question, and the Admiralty is carefully considering the best method of obtaining the full numbers required. A complete reply to the Question involves a long series of figures and details which cannot conveniently be given in a verbal answer. It would probably be more satisfactory and convenient to the noble Lord to receive the information in a printed form. If, therefore, he will put down the Question unstarred for an early day I shall be happy to give the particulars under all the five headings into which the question is divided.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
Can the hon. Gentleman say by what date he expects these shortages to be got rid of?
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
Is it a fact that in the Engineering Department there have been practically no candidates at the last two or three competitions?
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
No, Sir; I anticipate that the hon. Member refers to the case of the temporary assistant engineers, who form but a very small portion of the engineering staff.