HC Deb 15 March 1911 vol 22 cc2209-10

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he was aware that a shipwright joining the Royal Navy, after serving his time in the Royal dockyards as a shipwright's apprentice, a position he has only attained by passing high at the entrance examination, is obliged to do so as leading seaman, whereas another boy taking a low place at the same entrance examination, and being given the choice of two or three minor trades, on completing his apprenticeship, joins the Navy as an artificer of the engine-room staff, and is rated as chief petty officer; whether this accords with the general practice prevailing in other naval ratings; and, if not, whether he would consider the advisability of removing the disability under which the shipwright labours?


I am aware that the competitive examination is the same for boy artificers, dockyard apprentices, and boy shipwrights; also that the latter, after training, enter the Service afloat in the rating corresponding to leading seaman. It does not follow that the candidates who are highest on the list enter as boy shipwrights in preference to boy artificers or dockyard apprentices. Indeed, recent experience points to the contrary. It is purely a matter of election by the successful candidates within the numbers of the respective vacancies offered. A boy artificer on completing his training is rated engine-room artificer 5th class, which is the rating corresponding to leading seaman, and after a period of practical training at sea is advanced to the chief petty officer rating of acting engine-room artificer 4th class. There is no analogy between the system of entry of boy artificers and boy shipwrights for training and of the entry of other ratings into the naval service, and it is not considered advisable to make any change in the direction suggested in the hon. Member's question.