HC Deb 22 February 1922 vol 150 cc1878-80
27. Mr. BRIANT

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many stations for commanders-in-chief on shore at home were in existence prior to the War; are ships, and, if so, how many, located in the area of the commanders-in-chief of the Coast of Scotland and Western Approaches; what is the work for which 140 members of staff and retinue are employed; is separate housing accommodation provided for each of the officers of the two stations mentioned; and why is it necessary to pay at the average rate of £68 per head for lodging


As the reply to this question is very long, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Is it not possible to let us know at once whether these stations are going to be demobilised or not?


Yes, Sir. In consequence of the situation resulting from the Washington Conference, it has been decided that both the Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland, and the Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches, can be dispensed with.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask what the Washington Conference has to do with disbanding a post on the East Coast of Scotland?


That does not arise here.

The following is the prepared reply:

As regards part 1 of the question, there were five stations on shore at home prior to the War—at Portsmouth, Devonport, Chatham, Rosyth, and Queenstown. The first three were commanded by flag officers with the title of Commander-in-Chief. Rosyth was commanded by an admiral, with the title of Admiral Commanding on the Coast of Scotland; Queenstown by a vice-admiral, with the title of Vice-Admiral Commanding on the Coast of Ireland.

As regards part 2, the following ships are located in the areas mentioned: Coast of Scotland.—Three battle cruisers, two aircraft carriers, one battleship, three flotilla leaders, 29 torpedo boat destroyers, one sloop, seven drifters. In addition, there are the following ships for disposal: Five battleships, one cruiser, 13 minesweepers, one sloop, one submarine.

Western Approaches.—One light cruiser, four torpedo boat destroyers, two sloops, seven trawlers, two drifters, four harbour launches. In addition, there are the following ships for disposal: Five cruisers, six sloops, one gunboat.

As regards Part III, each Commander-in-Chief is assisted by a Chief of Staff and a War Staff Officer. These officers deal principally with movements of ships, arrangements for refits, port organisation, training, preparation for war, liaison with military and air force, business with local authorities. The Chief of Staff is the Commander-in-Chief's deputy for all questions coming under his jurisdiction.

The Maintenance, Officer and engineer officers deal with the upkeep of the ships, vessels, and small craft in the command. The intelligence officers on the Commander-in-Chief's staff are part of the Naval Intelligence system of the British Isles. They collect and distribute information throughout the command and to the Admiralty. They are also the distributing authorities for confidential hooks and documents.

The Flag Lieutenant, who is also the Commander-in-Chief's aide-de-camp, and the signal personnel, carry out all the signalling of the port. The Secretary, Secretary's clerks, writers, printers, and orderlies carry out the clerical work.

The medical officers care for the health of the personnel in the port, including the officers and ratings of ships and small craft refitting when the ships have no medical officers available.

The above constitute the headquarters staff, totalling 91 officers and ratings for the two Commands. In addition to these, there are 49 ratings, comprising 23 boats' crews and 26 bandsmen, which constitute the personal retinues of the two Commanders-in-Chief.

A detailed list of staff and retinue is given in Appendix (F.1) (page 45) of the First. Interim Report of the Committee on National Expenditure.

As regards Part IV, the Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland, is provided with an official residence for himself and domestic staff. A residence is also provided for his secretary. There is no other accommodation provided for Commander-in-Chief's officers, but some unmarried ratings are accommodated in temporary quarters attached to the Commander-in-Chief's offices.

The Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches, is likewise provided with an official residence for himself and domestic staff, and his secretary also occupies an official residence.

As regards Part V, I would point out that all officers of the Fleet are entitled to service accommodation or allowances in lieu if in the absence of such accommodation they have to find their own.

The allowances payable to officers under the Regulations are as follows:—

Annual Rate.
Flag Officers and Captains R.N. £
and Lieut.-Colonel and above R.M. 100
Commanders and Lieut.-Commanders and Lieutenants and Officers of corresponding rank 80
All other Officers 60
I may, however, point out that, in view of the change in the general situation brought about by the Washington Conference, orders have already been given for the abolition of the appointment of the Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Scotland, and for the amalgamation of the Western Approaches Command with that of Commander-in-Chief, Devonport.