LORD CHARLES BERKSFORD (Woolwich)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he will state the number of men that has been fixed as requisite for the Reserves of the Fleet, giving in detail seamen, seamen gunners, artificers, and stokers in the engine room department, and marines; and whether the numbers considered necessary are all available; and, if not, what arc tie deficiencies.
THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLB-FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
The number of Reserves requisite 1370 for manning the war fleet at the present time is 10,420, including 3,000 firemen. There is at present a deficiency of 2,700 stokers on the Active Service List, in consequence of which, after reckoning in the 3,700 stokers and firemen available from the Reserves, there is a deficiency of about 2,000 stokers. With this exception, all the other ratings are available. The question of the deficiency of stokers is engaging the attention of the Admiralty, and the best method of remedying it is being considered by the Committee under the presidency of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Berwick. I should like to add that, with the exception of the stoker ratings, there is a large number of men available in the Reserve to supply the waste of war, but the number, though large, is not considered adequate, and steps are being taken to increase it.