HC Deb 08 July 1913 vol 55 cc215-6
52. Mr. BARNES

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Petty Officer Frederick Hamper, of His Majesty's ship "Venerable," who was tried by court martial on a charge of being drunk whilst on duty, and sentenced to be disrated from petty officer to leading seaman and deprived of three good conduct badges; whether he is aware that this punishment amounts to a reduction in remuneration of 9s. 11d. per week and a reduction in pension of 2s. 7½d. per week; whether be is also aware that the evidence given at the trial showed that if Hamper was under the influence of drink it could only have been to a slight extent; whether he is also aware that this is the first case where the Admiralty Order of 27th September, 1912, allowing a person to claim to be tried by court martial in a case where he is liable to be disrated, has been put into operation, and that this sentence is calculated to discourage the men from availing themselves of the Order; and whether, in view of all the circumstances of the case he will have the matter reconsidered with a view to dealing with this man more leniently?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)

My attention has been drawn to this case. I am informed that the reduction in pay is 7s. a week, and that the probable reduction in pension will be about 2s. a week. With regard to the third part of the question I am advised that the evidence was conclusive. The statement contained in the fourth part of the question is incorrect, and I may add that a recent case resulted in the acquittal of the accused. It is not considered by the Board of Admiralty that a more lenient punishment would meet this case, as there was a. serious offence recorded against this petty officer in 1911, and the present offence reflected both on his fitness for the rating of petty officer and on his general conduct.