HC Deb 24 May 1922 vol 154 cc1171-4

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if it is proposed to return to the rule of 55 years being the retiring age for lieutenants promoted from the lower deck when once the list of these officers is reduced to pre-War numbers; and, if not, why not?


It is not intended to revert to the age of 55 as that for compulsory retirement for Lieutenant promoted from the lower deck, for the reason that, owing to the reduction of the Fleet and naval establishments generally, there will not be suitable employment for officers between the ages of 50 and 55. I may add that no commissioned officers below Captain's rank are allowed to remain on the active list after attaining the age of 50.

20. Sir B. FALLE

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he can give any reason why those naval officers promoted from the lower deck are to be compulsorily retired, while all other naval officers are to be offered inducements to resign; and why all, or nearly all, officers promoted from the lower deck for War service are to be compulsorily retired?


In framing the scheme for the reduction of the lists, it has been necessary for the Admiralty to have particular regard to the state of the lists after the necessary reductions have been made in order that there may be sufficient officers of the requisite seniorities remaining, and that an adequate flow of promotion may be maintained. It is solely on account of these considerations that the Lieutenants who were selected under a special scheme for promotion from the Warrant Officer lists to complete War requirements are being compulsorily retired, and it is not to be inferred that they have been specially selected for retirement in preference to others. In promulgating the scheme the Board have expressed their regret that these officers must be retired, and their sense of the loss to the Naval Service thereby involved, but this is unfortunately inevitable in the circumstances. No officers specially promoted to Lieutenant for War services are being compulsorily retired.


Will the hon. Gentleman say whether any special provision is being made for these officers, considering their age?


Yes, Sir. The terms under which they are being retired have been very generously framed in view of the circumstances.


Is this not a direct violation of the pledge given by the hon. Gentleman to me that the Geddes Report would not affect adversely officers promoted from the lower deck?


It does not adversely affect officers generally, but those particular officers who are surplus to requirements. We are compelled in certain circumstances to reduce all officers who are surplus to requirements. What we are doing is encouraging the flow of promotions from the lower deck.


Why should there be a difference between ordinary commissioned officers and officers promoted prom the lower deck? Why should one be induced to retire and the other compelled?


I answered that question fully yesterday. In all cases retirement is eventually compulsory, and when officers are surplus to requirements the element of compulsion begins to work.

24. Sir B. FALLE

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he can state the position of those six officers recently promoted, after examinations under the new Government scheme, from the ranks of commissioned warrant officers and who could legitimately expect to remain in the service to the age of 55 and to rise in rank; are these officers to be compelled to retire on reaching the age of 50 on the terms of receiving the rank and the pension of lieutenant-commander, that is of £350 plus gratuity of £500, or can they retire now on those terms as if they had attained 50 years, or are they to be kept on to 50 and then thrown out on the ordinary pension with no gratuity, or are they to be compelled to retire on ordinary pension on 22nd August, 1922, and no gratuity?


The six officers recently promoted to lieutenant after passing certain examinations are in the same position under the scheme for the reduction of the lists as other lieutenants (ex-warrant officers) normally promoted who will net have attained the age of 50 on the 12th August, 1922. They are eligible to retire under the reduction scheme on the retired pay earned by service calculated to the 12th August, 1922, with two years' additional service and a gratuity of £500; if not so retired they will be compulsorily retired on attaining the age of 50 under the ordinary regulations, that is, without any gratuity or addition to ordinary pension.