§ 59. Sir A. WILLIAMSON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if James Milne, of Nairn, a qualified skipper and extra master since April, 1914, who has been acting as master of a trawler with eight men under him since June, 1915, on boom defence, has now been ordered to be transferred to the Royal Naval Volunteer 714 Reserve as an ordinary seaman, also if John Main and David Ralph, both of Nairn, with similar qualifications and experience, have received similar instructions; and, if so, whether an oversight has occurred in employing men with masters' certificates as ordinary seamen?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
These men are members of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Section Y), in which fishermen are voluntarily enrolled for service in the Trawler Section of the Royal Naval Reserve when required. Their services are now required, and they have been called up. It is not the practice to enter such men direct in the Trawler Section as skippers, as they must first be tried under service and war conditions, but their qualifications are noted at the time of entry, and if found suitable they receive early advancement.
§ Sir A. WILLIAMSON
Do I understand that these men have been employed by the Admiralty as skippers for the past two or three years, and are now reduced to the position of ordinary seamen without any fault of their own?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
Are not men with the experience stated in the question entitled to higher rank than that of ordinary seaman?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I understand my hon. and gallant Friend's point, and will put it to the naval authorities, but we have to have regard to the Service.