70. Mr. F. HALL
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if it is competent for commanders to issue damaged certificates to petty officers and seamen on leaving; whether the men have any appeal to a higher authority against such action; and if any inquiry is provided for under the Regulations before such certificates are issued?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
I do not understand what is meant by "damaged certificates." If the phrase has reference to the practice of cutting off the corner of the certificate in cases in which a man is discharged with a bad character or with disgrace, this is authorised by Article 818, clause 11, of the King's Regulations. If the phrase has reference to the possibility of endorsements becoming illegible, the Regulations provide for an annual inspection of the certificates of all men serving on board His Majesty's ships, and if in the course of this examination any entries are found to be illegible, steps are taken to have the particulars verified and reinserted, while damaged certificates are replaced by copies.
Mr. F. HALL
In regard to the certificates which are cut off to a certain extent, will the right hon. Gentleman reply to the last part of the question?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
In Article 817, clause 9, it is provided that after each annual assessment, the characters recorded are to be read to the men at general muster. This would afford an opportunity 1665 to any man who felt himself aggrieved to lodge complaint. Article 8 (a) provides for an appeal.