§ 4 and 5. Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
asked (1) whether the cost of maintaining a thoroughly efficient staff of ordnance artificers at a minimum rate of 5s. 6d. per day would not exceed £27,000 a year; and, in view of the shortage in the armourer ratings, and having regard to the high mechanism of present day armaments and the necessity of their constant care, will he appoint a Departmental Committee to inquire into the matter and report thereon to the Admiralty; and (2) whether on 31st March,]913, the Royal naval armourer ratings were 184 short of 900; can he account for this shortage in any other way than the low rate of pay offered to the men; and whether, with a view to placing the Navy in a greater state of officiency, he will arrange for first-class mechanics to be employed for the repair and maintenance of guns and their appurtenances and given first-class mechanics' rate of pay?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The number of armourer ratings borne on 31st March last was approximately 985. The pay of the armourer class was increased at the end of last year by amounts varying from 2d to 10d a day, at a total cost of over £6,000 a year. There is a temporary difficulty in recruiting, but the necessity has not been shown of obtaining a much higher class of mechanic on entry. Proposals are now under consideration departmentally for increasing the supply of recruits, but it is not proposed to appoint a formal committee.