§ 17. Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, seeing that under Article 1915 of King's Regulations warrant officers were pensioned on retirement at the age of 55, but that since July, 1922, they are compulsorily retired at the age of 50, it is proposed to grant compensation to those who were promoted before July, 1922, when the terms of service were altered to their disadvantage, and who, as a consequence, have the prospect of losing five years' service with attendant emoluments and rights?
I understand that the hon. and gallant Member is referring to officers promoted to warrant rank before the special retirement scheme of 1922 came into force, who have not since received promotion to the rank or relative rank of lieutenant. The compulsory age of retirement of warrant officers was reduced from 55 to 50 years in conjunction with the retirement scheme of 1922, when drastic measures had to be taken to effect the readjustments rendered necessary by the changed conditions after the War. These measures involved almost all 2060 classes and grades of officers in some sacrifice. Warrant officers promoted before the introduction of the scheme, who now have to retire at an earlier age than was originally laid down, suffer no greater hardship than the officers of all classes who were compulsorily retired in 1922, in many cases a considerable number of years before the ordinary retirement age, and I regret that no special compensation can be granted to them.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it was specifically stated in the Regulations when they were appointed that these men would have the right to serve until the age of 55, and in these circumstances cannot the Admiralty see their way to fulfil the contracts, as non-observance presses so hardly upon these people?