HC Deb 14 June 1915 vol 72 cc490-1
30. Colonel RUTHERFORD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he is aware that three young men between twenty-five and thirty years of age, all of Blackburn, have been appointed to deal with the examination of cloth for aircraft, in preference to men above military age and of larger experience; what are their remuneration and allowances; have they, without any previous experience in the Navy or aircraft, been appointed sub- lieutenants in the Volunteer Naval Reserve (Aircraft Section) to enable them to carry out their duties; and, seeing that these appointments have given rise to adverse comment, whether he will, to prevent recruiting amongst the workpeople and others being hindered, take steps to ensure such appointments not being made in the future?


Three young men, all under the age of thirty, have been granted commissions in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, one as a lieutenant and two as sub-lieutenants, their duties being the inspection of fabric for aircraft. These gentlemen have been selected on the recommendations of the highest authorities on this subject, and have purposely been chosen of this age so that they can be trained in the practical side of air work, in order that they may fully grasp the requirements of the service, and it will be part of their duty to take part in actual flying. It is not considered that men of over military age are suitable for work in the air in order to test material, fittings, and so on. Remuneration and allowances are in accordance with rank. As regards the final part of the question, I feel convinced that, after the statement that it is not only part of these young men's duty to exercise their skill and knowledge in the selection and examination of material for aircraft, but also to go into the air to see how such material bears the strain of actual use, such adverse comment as may already have been made will at once be recognised by its authors as having arisen as a result of misconception.