HC Deb 10 July 1902 vol 110 cc1356-7

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 battle-ships, 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.

(Answer.) The numbers of engineer officers short, as compared with the numbers voted for the year ending 31st March, 1903, are as follows: Fleet, staff and chief engineers, 10; engineers and assistant engineers, 41. Engineers and the authorised numbers, as promotions assistant-engineers are classed together in depend upon length of service. In the case of engine-room ratings, the shortage as compared with the numbers voted is as follows: engine-room artificers, consisting of 55 fitters, 7 engine smiths, 57 boiler-makers, 12 coppersmiths, total 131; stokers 529. Although an addition of 529 stokers would make up the numbers authorised to be raised during the present year, there will still be a shortage in the stoker class, as to which I have given the noble Lord the particulars in reply to another Question. The increase of stokers asked for this year was limited to the increased numbers of the proper class which it was believed could be raised in one year. One engineer is at present doing duty in lieu of a chief engineer, but there are no assistant-engineers employed in lieu of engineers. In reply to the last paragraph of the Question, the regulation number of engine-room ratings required for care and maintenance parties for vessels in the Fleet Reserve compares with the numbers actually borne, as follows—

Required. Borne.
Battleships 246 271
First Class Cruisers 443 374
Second Class Cruisers 479 457
Third Class Cruisers 52 27
Gun Vessels 18 37
Destroyers 322 299

The totals for all classes of vessels are 1,647 required, as compared with 1,573 borne, or a shortage of 74. I ought, however, to add that there are still nearly nine months of the financial year to expire during which it is hoped that such deficiencies as exist may be materially reduced, if not altogether removed. —(Admiralty.)