HC Deb 22 October 1919 vol 120 c3

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state what is the present number of men serving in the Navy and the number serving on 31st July last; and, in each case, how many are conscripts?


The total numbers serving on 31st July and on 30th September are as follows:—

31st July. 30th Sept.
Officers 20,296 17,591
Men 170,315 151,875
These figures are inclusive of officers and men of the Mercantile Marine Reserve, but do not include figures in respect of men who, on the dates mentioned, had been dispersed to demobilisation leave. The permanent Navy is a wholly voluntary service. The Military Service Acts provided that before being entered for military service any man taken could express his preference for the Navy. A great many did, and a number were accepted by us. Whether my hon. Friend has these men in mind when using the word "conscripts" or not I cannot say, but in any case there are very few of them still serving.