HC Deb 11 December 1912 vol 45 c436
25. Mr. BOOTH

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that Captain Charlton stated at the Marconi Inquiry that there was great difficulty in finding suitable wireless experts, and that the replies to the advertisement were mostly unsatisfactory; and whether, in future statements of necessary qualifications, the restriction to university trained men will be removed, and a training at the Electrical Institute or an engineering college substituted?


The answer to the first part of the question is generally in the affirmative. As regards the last part, the number of civilian experts in wireless required to assist naval officers is very small, only three being so employed, and there is no probability of another being required under present conditions. The definition of a university education has been interpreted in a wide sense, and provided that the candidate possesses the requisite technical qualifications, no rigid line would be drawn as to the college or institute at which he may have been trained. I may add that the Admiralty has been guided in this matter and will be guided in the future solely by the desire to obtain the best man for the work, and that neither a university training nor the absence of it will be considered a bar.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what was the meaning of the phrase used in the advertisement that the applicants must have a university training?


I did not draft the advertisement, and I have not studied it; but I will inquire as to the actual meaning. But I understand there is no idea of drawing a social distinction or erecting any artificial barrier, and any such idea would be foreign to the whole spirit in which the naval administration is conducted.