HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 c1060

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that dissatisfaction prevails among certain classes of workmen in His Majesty's dockyards owing to the fact that single men who have entered the dockyards since the outbreak of war are being exempted while married men with many years' service are having their badges withdrawn?


I have received complaints of the character indicated in the question, and have in every case called for local inquiry. The Admiralty instructions are that all semi-skilled and unskilled workmen are to be debadged without regard to whether they are married or single. As regards the order of release for military service, so far as the matter is at the discretion of the dockyard officers, they are instructed to have regard to the various circumstances, such as age, length of service, and the relative value of the men's services in their present situations. Of course, so far as the matter is within their competence, all other things being equal, they would naturally release single men first; but it may very well be that in some cases single men, even if entered since the outbreak of war, may be rendering greater and more indispensable service in the dockyard than some of the married men with considerable service. But that statement must not be taken as indicating any general practice in the direction of retaining single men in preference to married men.