HC Deb 15 January 1913 vol 46 cc2052-3

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can explain of what advantage to the Service it is to keep a roster of men eligible for the rating of chief petty officer at the naval barracks, seeing that outside a port the captain of a ship can select his own chief petty officer; is he aware of a recent case where a man who had only been a first-class petty officer for three years was made chief petty officer over the head of another man who had seven years and ten months' ser vice to his credit as first-class petty officer on the same ship, and that, when this fact was brought to the notice of the captain, he replied that he wanted a coxswain and not a gunner's mate; and, in these circumstances, will he consider the advisability of requiring captains of all ships to select their chief petty officers from the roster and to take them in the order in which their names appear?


All promotions to chief petty officer to complete the numbers required at the port are made from the roster of men qualified by service for the higher rating, and advancement is made by seniority, tempered by selection, provided the man is recommended as fit for promotion. A vacancy in a ship due to death, desertion, or other cause of final discharge from the Service, is filled by the commanding officer, if a suitable candidate qualified for advancement is serving on board. If not, a candidate is selected from the fleet or squadron. If no suitable man is forthcoming from this source, the vacancy is filled from the port roster. This system provides for the selection of a certain proportion of men, independently of seniority, and is considered the best adapted to the needs of the Service.


Are we to understand that the man whose service I have mentioned was not an efficient officer?


I do not think that that follows at all.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that, from the date a seaman is made a first-class petty officer he receives hardly any benefit seeing that he may remain, and often does remain, ten years in the lower rating owing to the executive branch of the Navy being kept so low as regards chief petty officers; and whether he will consider the advisability of raising the number of chief petty officers so as to give a man reaching that rating a longer opportunity of enjoying his position?


The rate of promotion has for some time been slow, but is expected to improve. The average time spent as petty officer by men who reach chief petty officer rating is not so high as ten years, though in individual cases they may serve as long. Petty officers, however, receive progressive rates of pay after three and six years service as such, and their pay has recently been increased by 4d. a day. The number of chief petty officers is determined by the requirements of the service, and it is not proposed to increase it.