HC Deb 14 March 1912 vol 35 cc1280-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, in view of his statement in this House on 8th August last on the status of the Army Ordnance Department writers, and in view of the opinions expressed in the Third Report of the Committee upon Ordnance Store Department Writers (A 268.11), 1894, as to the desirability of discontinuing the employment of retired officers at Woolwich, he will say why the recent vacancy for a civil clerk in the Army Ordnance Department at Woolwich was filled by the appointment of a retired officer instead of by promotion from the writer class; whether he is aware that the adoption of this policy creates a block to the promotion of capable writers; whether he will give an undertaking that this method shall not be resorted to again; and whether he can hold out hope of similar rapid promotion to deserving writers in the Department referred to?

Colonel SEELY

The selection of a retired officer for the post of civil clerk is not antagonistic to the recommendations of the Committee on Ordnance Store Department Writers. The employment of retired officers spoken of in the Report was an altogether different system. The Committee desire to give the War Office the freest possible hand for securing the best men available for these responsible positions, and they made no recommendation that the appointment of civil clerk should be filled by selection from any particular class. The writers' claims are not overlooked in making the selections, as will be seen from the fact that four of the nine posts are hold by men who formerly served as writer. The recent appointment was made in accordance with the intention of the Committee, and I do not see my way to depart from the present policy in making selections for these appointments.