HC Deb 14 March 1927 vol 203 cc1773-809

I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That", to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words in view of the great and increasing importance of the results or scientific research, every effort should be made to ensure that full use is made in advances in pure and applied science in securing and increasing the efficiency of the ships and weapons of the Navy. In moving this Amendment I desire to express acquiescence in the observation made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) who said that whatever might be said of the Navy applied equally to the Mercantile Marine, since the one merges into the other at the outbreak of war. There were no more heroic men who sailed the seas than those who manned the Mercantile Marine, whose risks were greater than the risks of those engaged in mining or any other industry. The object of my Amendment is to encourage the intellectual activities of those men who are engaged in discovering the phenomena of our material universe and trying to discover the various combinations of the elements. But for the unequivocal proofs furnished in the past, the apathy displayed by the majority of our fellow subjects would be incredible. We do not find it amongst big firms. Every big firm finds it absolutely necessary to employ scientists to engage in research work, in order that they may obtain the maximum efficiency from the material and from the machinery employed in that industry, and if it be true in commerce and industry, it is more true in the combatant Services. I would remind the House that as the result of research work in science, the greatest benefits have accrued to individual firms through business men and adventurers, sometimes profiteers and intriguers. Every clime bears witness to the toil of the scientist. Existing industries have been revolutionised by the results of research work and entirely new industries created. I invite hon. Members to remember Newton, Faraday, Thompson, and Meldola. It would be true to say that Faraday was the father of the electrical trade, and that Meldola was the discoverer of aniline dyes, a by-product of coal. Both of those industries now employ hundreds of thousands of men. There are men in the employment of the Naval Department who are willing to work, apparently, for a mere pittance, because the scientific man is indifferent to money and to the time he works. So long as he can achieve that which he sets out to do, he loses all sense of time.

If you asked a true scientist which he would choose, to be the richest man in the world, or to receive the greatest honour that any Sovereign could bestow upon him, or to discover a new element, he would look at you in mild surprise and wonder that there could be any doubt in your mind that the money and the order would mean nothing to him. The discovery of an element would mean immortality.

I desire to do justice to the great capacity of the men who are employed in the Admiralty at the present time. I know full well that many of their discoveries have resulted in overcoming what hitherto have proved to be insurmountable difficulties, have led to a revolution in certain civil trades and industries, and in certain cases have actually created a new industry. There are few people who realise the very great work and the prodigious task undertaken by these men. They cannot be in the limelight as the work done for the Admiralty must of necessity be secret. The importance of this work should be realised by hon. Members when they consider that to-day the size and the number of our ships and the size and the number of our guns are strictly limited.

Looking at the Navy Estimates, I find it extraordinarily difficult for a layman to dissect these figures, and, therefore, I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to correct me if I am wrong, because the figures are startling in their paucity. At this point I would like to call the attention of the House to the fact that there is at the present time, or rather there was a few days ago, a Bill before the French Chamber in which they are preparing to mobilise the whole country. That includes the men that understand physics, chemistry and all the arts and sciences. The nation is to be mobilised to resist aggression. We are not asking for that; we are asking—or at least I am —that the very few men we do employ shall be of a type and character possessing the best brains that money can command. I attribute much of the success of Germany in the late War to the scientific application of the experts that they employed in private firms and those men provided the destructive agencies by which Germany was enabled to defy practically the whole world for a time.

The figures in the Navy Estimates, so far as I understand them, for research work and experiment, are: £114,478 on Vote 6 N, £126,520 on 6 O, and £99,404 on 6 P. There seems to be, in addition, some collaboration between the Army and the Navy, and in addition on Vote 9, K (iii), there appears a sum of £65,000, which I gather is the contribution to the Research Department of the War Office. Those figures give a, total of £400,000. It may be within the recollection of the House that the present Minister of Agriculture, when he was Financial Secretary to the Treasury, stated that the sum of money allocated for scientific research in connection with the Admiralty was £983,000. I am assuming that the dif- ference between that £983,000 and the £400,000 I have mentioned goes in the proof of guns, explosives, armour plate, and the like. That is very necessary, and in fact absolutely essential, but I submit that that is not actual research work. Apparently we are telling the nation that we are going to equip genius with wings at an expenditure of £400,000. For my part, I wish it could be done. We are hearing the cry of economy continually. I submit that the place to begin economy is in this House, and if I were in order, I should like to demonstrate how I would do it. The first step for economy would be to stop Members of Parliament receiving any pay at all.

I ask the House to remember what these scientists are called upon to do. Some of us have very uncomfortable memories of things that happened in the War. I am not going to attempt to give the House a list, but I do recollect millions of shells being made for six-inch guns in which the shell of the projectile was the same thickness as the shell of the 18-pounder. I need hardly say that those shells were never used and never could be used. Among other things, these scientists, who number about 200, and whose emoluments appear under Vote 6N and 6P, are required to do analytical work, to discover new explosives, shells, guns, armour, rangefinders, electrical contrivances under-water signalling, optical instruments, explosives, shells, fuses, propelling machinery, fire control, searchlights, telegraph, telephony, and thousands of things we in this House never hear of. It is asking too much to ask these men to excel and do all the tasks which we call upon them to do when we consider what a diversity of subject they are called upon to devise. In the matter of armament, there is the everlasting problem of the irresistable meeting the immovable, because the shipbuilder, in designing a vessel endeavours to provide a target which is immovable so far as impact is concerned, while the manufacturer of projectiles is endeavouring to find a shell which will be irresistible against a ship as a target. Looking through these pages one finds that these men are supposed to know all about ballistics, the gyrostatic stability of the bullet and the shell, and are to be expert, not only in physics, chemistry and gunnery, but in a thousand and one things— it would be no exaggeration to say in the myriad of things which exist in a vessel, between the ram at the bows and the cavitation propeller at the stern. The Navy has made the Empire, and it is the Navy which preserves the Empire; whatever affects the Navy is transmitted to the mercantile fleet, The Mercantile Marine is the jugular vein of this country.

We are not contributing a fair share towards the upkeep of the scientific branch of the Navy, and I hope the First Lord of the Admiralty will be able to remove the apprehension which I feel. I cannot think that the emoluments offered to these men are commensurate with the skill required. In my own industry, I would not dream of asking a first-class man to accept the greatest emoluments set out here. No private firm would so so. It is hardly to be expected that you will obtain the best brains which this country can produce, devoted though these men are. This work is most confidential, a slight percentage in the increased velocity of the projectile or the explosive power might mean the loss of our country. Reference has been made to a recent book in which it was stated that three times during one afternoon one man could have lost the world war, and the writer added: "Three times is a lot." I am not criticising the gallant men who risked their lives on the sea. If one changed one's politics three times it would; be a lot. I regard these scientific men as being far more eminent than any statesmen, and I do sometimes feel we are rather inclined for political purposes to starve the services. It is against that that I wish to protest more vigorously, I want it to go forth from this House that we are not controlled entirely by political considerations. I do not want it said that we are thinking of money, and money alone. I want rather that it should be said we recognise that in our personnel we have got the bravest, the greatest and the most glorious Navy the world has ever seen, and I suggest that we ought to be as free with our purse as we are with our praise, and thus do national homage to the senior service.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I have not the scientific knowledge of my hon. Friend who moved this Amend- ment, nor have I much knowledge of the scientific research that has taken place in the service since the War, and such arguments as I try to bring in favour of this Amendment will be based on the experience I had during the War. I think those of us in all three services must remember that, as the years go by, we become less expert, more and more out-of-date, and tend to become more in the nature of hack numbers. At the same time, I think it is our duty to give such experience as we have had for the help and guidance of the House. In the early days of the War—I speak subject to correction—in the matter of torpedoes, guns and mines, size for size, I cannot think, at any rate, we were ahead of the enemy. In the early days of the War, our torpedoes were notoriously unsatisfactory, due to lack of scientific experiment. That mistake was rectified, and I hope it will not occur again. Then, with regard to our guns and projectiles, I think there are few naval officers who would say, size for size, our projectiles were more effective than the enemy projectiles in Me early part of the War. At Jutland I do not think our projectiles were more effective, judging from the accounts. In most accounts of actions, I think, probably, most naval officers would agree that the enemy found their target with amazing quickness, and very often more quickly than we did ourselves, due probably to their superiority in the early days of the War in optical instruments—again a matter of scientific research. The superiority of their range-finders enabled them to pick up their target quickly, although, as we know, once we found the target, we were able to disorganise their highly efficient but delicate system of fire control.

Having made these criticisms from the point of view of our lack of scientific research before the War, I would add a word about our mines. I remember there was one unique signal made by a destroyer captain to his commander-inchief during the War when he said, "Am obliged to return to port, having severely damaged a British mine "—needless to say a British mine. He got back into port, although damaged himself. I think if you ask naval officers with experience, they will say that enemy mines, at any rate in the first 18 months of the War, were a long way ahead of ours, and did not break away like ours. We had not experimented or carried out sufficient research, and, as far as drifting mines were concerned, from personal experience I know the first thing was to see if they were German or British. If they were British, we did not treat them with the same respect as if they were German. As the War went on, our scientific departments were developed, and so we rapidly caught up in all these things. Our research before the War was sufficiently good to ensure that no surprise of any sort was sprung upon us, but it seems to me that science is advancing so rapidly that we cannot be sure that some great scientific improvement will not catch us napping, and perhaps put a very much weaker naval power in almost as strong a position as ourselves.

A good deal has been said in this Debate about the abolition of the battleship, which is, of course, the central backbone of the whole Navy. It seems to me quite likely that before we come to any international arrangement to do away with the battleship science may find some implement to do away with it for us. I do not think we have reached that stage yet, either with mines or bombs or torpedoes; it seems to me, from what evidence we have, that the defensive means against these weapons are still adequate; but at any moment science may discover some means of attacking the big ship, and we want to be quite sure that, owing to the adequacy of our own research, we are the people to discover it. What my hon. Friend and I feel is that we need more definite assurances from my hon. Friend when he replies that he is satisfied that the money spent on scientific research is adequate to the size and importance of our Fleet and our Navy. I would say in conclusion, without touching on the controversy of Jutland, because my opinion, if I gave it, would not be worth anything, that I think we are sometimes apt to forget that at any rate the Germans surrendered rather than fight a second Jutland, that at the end of the War the German Fleet surrendered without a blow, and that the victory was as complete as it possibly could have been. If we are to emerge from the next war with as complete a victory at the end as we had in the last—and I hope incidentally there will not be a next war—

we must back the finest naval personnel in the world with the finest scientific equipment.


In the language of the Mover and the Seconder of this Amendment I think we have an exhibition of militarism running mad. I gather that the ideal which lies behind the minds of both those hon. Members is that we should overtake the great military scientific achievements of our enemy in the late world War. I caught in the speeches of both hon. Members an attitude almost of reverence for, even of adoration of the military achievements due to scientific research—


You would not have us ashamed of them, would you?


I would not have you ashamed of any kind of scientific achievement; but I think it is extraordinarily symptomatic of the temper of the opposite party that in 1927 they should be setting up for themselves as an ideal the scientific military achievement of those whom they have always said were responsible for the first world War. I have not been able to look into the details of the figures, but I gather from the Mover of the Amendment that, according to the Government, nearly £11,000,000 is being spent already in scientific research, and that he criticises what appears under that particular heading and suggests that only £400,000 is being spent. I do not know what is the exact figure—we can leave that to the Minister when he comes to reply—but I do understand that he is definitely not satisfied with the amount of money, whatever it may be, spent in research. He thinks the very revolutionary developments which have taken place in our military technique, even since 1919 are not satisfactory. The nation which he has idealised to-night has been subject since 1919 to the most drastic process of disarmament, including laboratory work, which any great nation has ever had to face; he knows that from that point of view there is no effective research competition going on; and he knows that the spending of the Government he has idealised to-night, and of the Universities he has idealised, has been cut down by public treaty, and therefore he cannot be under any illusion with regard to competition in his idealism; and yet in face of the drastic cutting down of this thing he admired so much in the pre-war days, and even taking into account all the stupendous inventions and discoveries as the result of British scientific research in 1919, he is still not satisfied with this expenditure.

For example, there is the development of the first-class battleship until it has now reached a displacement of 35,000 tons, and all the technical developments in respect of its guns, and so on that the wit of man can devise—an aggregation of inventive genius costing £7,500,000 which cannot be equalled by any other Government in the world. Then there is the development in cruisers, in which we are far ahead of the standard laid down for Germany in 1919. Further, there are big advances in aircraft; and then we can claim that we are well ahead of, say, the Lewisite gas invention of 1919. I think the First Lord of the Admiralty, if he cares to discuss this aspect of scientific research, will admit that in British Universities and various scientific associations, and in the Government laboratories, we can to-day exhibit a gas which is far ahead even of that which was developed in the United States under the pressure of war towards the end of 1918. In every department of scientific research, whether it applies to the Army, to the Navy or to the Air Service, we have made stupendous advances since 1919; but I gather that neither the Mover nor the Seconder of this Amendment is at all satisfied with that progress, and that they wish to have still more money spent. I gather from them that we have not already got the best brains of the country on this phase of scientific work. I do not know whether the First Lord of the Admiralty will take that lying down, whether he assumes that there are in any of our Universities or any of our scientific institutions men of great capability who are not being employed. I should think the Mover of the Resolution is going very near towards saying something not only disrespectful of, but even libellous of, the three fighting Services, because I am certain they have left no stone unturned to secure the very finest type of mind to work on this particular aspect of scientific research. I gather that some hon. Members want to go a great deal further in opposing this proposal. I wish to say that I yield to no one in my love and esteem for the works of the scientific mind, and I realise that we owe whatever advantages we have won as a civilisation to the laboratory and the growth of scientific investigation and experiment. I believe also that if this great country has ever to be raised up to a position where the people can have good material conditions with ample leisure it will come through the development of scientific research. What I complain of is that in 1927 in addition to all the elaborate precautions surrounding our three fighting Services and in addition to what is being spent on scientific research all this increased expenditure should be taking place in a year when general disarmament is under discussion, and the whole world is asking for some limitation or reduction in our armament by mutual agreement.

The League of Nations is not doing much in the direction of trying to limit the use of scientific ability for purely military purposes. When discussing whether the various forms of reduction of armament, we should consider if it is not practical in the near future to get a roll of honour amongst the scientists of the world pledging themselves that they will not lend their genius, greatness and intellect for purely military research. The League of Nations has been seriously discussing the question of the reduction and checking the development of armaments by attacking its problem at its source, and trying to build up a self-denying ordinance that scientists should only do work which will make for the development of the world's production, the extermination of disease whether in plants, animals or human beings. There should be a self-denying ordinance passed by scientists to prevent them prostituting their minds for purely military purposes. Whilst it may be extremely difficult it Would be far more in keeping with 1927 and with what we want to get done to check the growth of these armaments if, instead of talking about increasing British genius for purely military purposes, we might have a movement coming spontaneously for the withdrawal of this kind of ability, and that we might have from the back benches what we have not seen from the front benches, some evidence that the Tory party does mean business with regard to the whole question of disarmament. I oppose this pro- posal, and I hope the policy adopted by the League of Nations in regard to military affairs will prevail.

10.0 p.m.


My excuse for intervening in this Debate is that, being a member of the Advisory Council on Scientific and Industrial Research, I am in a position to know some slight amount of its activities in the matter of scientific research. The Navy is in very close co-operation with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and they have at Teddington a research department of their own which is devoted to secret investigations. The members of the staff there work in close conjunction with the staff of the National Physical Laboratory, and where it is possible for them to work together problems are put rip to the National Physical Laboratory for them to work out on behalf of the Navy. The Navy also take a great interest in the work of the Fuel Research Station, and all the work there is carefully scrutinised by the Navy representatives and use i5 made of that station for fuel examinations.

From what I know of the work of the Fuel Research Station I believe we are approaching the time when we shall be in a position to produce oil from coal at a reasonable cost, and when this is so the Navy will obtain oil for its naval purposes, and we at the same time shall be utilising the coal fuel of this country. As an example of the important work that is being done at the National Physical Laboratory which is of interest to the Navy I may mention that work is being done there at the present time on the strength of materials at high temperatures. This work is being done on the initiative of the Navy, and the Committee which is in charge of the carrying out of these experiments is presided over by an Admiral. Other work that is of interest to the Navy at the National Physical Laboratory, to take two examples, is the Froude tank and the Aerodynamic Department's wind tunnel. I am in a position to say that the experimental work in the Navy is very large, but I believe it is true economy to carry out to the fullest extent research work and experimental work of this kind.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

My hon. Friend who brought forward this Amendment rightly drew attention to the importance of scientific research in industry. I need scarcely say that the Admiralty are fully alive to the necessity for scientific research and investigation in the Navy. As proof of this I may point to the fact that the Admiralty was the first Service Department to appoint a Director of Scientific Research as long ago as 1920. But during the War and ever since the War it has been the policy of the Admiralty to encourage research as a solution of all naval problems. It may interest the House if I give it some account of the changes which have been effected since the appointment of the Director of Scientific Research. In the First Lord's statement, explanatory of the Navy Estimates in 1923–24, there was mention made of the formation of a pool of scientists, under the control of the Director of Scientific Research. From this pool were to be drawn all the scientists working in the various naval establishments in which research work and investigation was in progress.

The policy of establishing this pool has worked so smoothly and satisfactorily that the Admiralty have extended the system by the formation of further pools of technical and analytical staffs, also under the Director of Scientific Research. The results have been eminently satisfactory, both in economy and efficiency. The further extension of this policy of centralising the control of staffs engaged on research work will be to bring together the staffs that are working on particular branches of science together in one establishment. That will be a comparatively easy policy and will, I hope, be carried out as soon as it can effectively be done. So you ill then have men who are engaged on similar branches of science working together. An important example of this kind, an example of reorganisation, has already been accomplished in the centralisation in one establishment of certain anti-submarine work which had been previously scattered about in various different establishments.

The Admiralty have the satisfaction of knowing that their organisation for research and experiment has the approval of the outside scientific world. I should like to refer very briefly to the benefits which this naval research work confers on the whole of the com- munity. Such benefits are not inconsiderable, although of course they come more or less by way of accident, because the main purpose of naval research work, as carried out by the Service, is to effect results for the benefit of the Service and for military ends. I should like all hon. Members to realise that under existing arrangements the results of this experiment and research work as carried out in naval establishments are communicated to civilian firms as well as to the outside scientific world, whenever, that is to say, the Admiralty decide that it is unnecessary in the public interest to keep such information secret. A similar arrangement is in force (by which the contents of Admiralty secret patents, embodying in many cases the results of Service investigations or inventions, are made available to the public when possible., so that the hon. Member for Pennistone (Mr. Rennie Smith) must not always suffer under the delusion that the whole of the works connected with the Army and Navy are purely destructive. They are designed, in many cases, to save life as much as to take it. Many useful inventions and discoveries are being made by our Naval Scientific Department which are for the good of the world and which are not by any means a menace to civilisation.


I think, at the same time, the hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree that if this proposed increase for scientific research were placed under a purely civilian organisation the benefits to humanity would be very much greater.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

It would be very difficult for us to provide what the hon. Member wishes in the Navy Vote. I am trying to assure him that some good does come out of this, and I am going to give him some of the investigations that have been published in recent years. These have proved to be, or may be, of great use to the civilian community. I would mention the echo depth sounding, which enables ships to take soundings without slackening speed and facilitates the taking of soundings for chart purposes. Then there is the Leader cable,, which facilitates the navigation of ships approaching port in thick weather. There is also the radio acoustic and the underwater sound ranging method of position finding for ships, by which the ship's position can be accurately fixed within reasonable distance of land. There are also improvements in magnetic compasses and gyro compasses. I would also mention the improvements in wireless apparatus, such as the wireless direction finding apparatus which is coming into general use by the Mercantile Marine, and the development of the high-speed internal combustion heavy oil engine.

There are many investigations which have been undertaken by, or for, the Admiralty, to meet Service needs, which have a direct bearing on commercial practice. One may take as an example improvements in metallurgical processes, which are reflected in the greater reliability of motor car parts and of aircraft engines. Recent Admiralty investigations on the causes of certain defects in lead accumulators have had an important bearing on manufacturing processes, and the results of some of these investigations have been communicated to the Admiralty contractors so that both the Services and other users of accumulators will, it is hoped, benefit. I mention these things because I am anxious that hon. Members in general, and the hon. Member for Penistone in particular, who is always so exercised in his mind as to our provisions for defence, should realise that this purely Scientific Research Department is a Department which is available not only to the Navy but to this country as a whole.

Further bearing on expenditure on naval research, my hon. and gallant Friend pointed out that a sum of £400,000 is accounted for under Vote 6 and Vote 9. It is true that the main expenditure of the Navy on research proper comes from these Votes. I should like, however, to emphasise the fact that before a weapon or any piece of equipment to be used by the Fleet is produced as the result of research, and is put into practical application, a number of stages must be passed through to test its reliability. These reliability tests are in the nature of scientific work and experiments. The cost of this experimental stage is not borne on the Scientific Research Vote, although it is very much part and parcel of the scientific side of Admiralty work. I suggest, therefore, that the total amount of money in these Estimates for research and experimental development work is £889,700, and that this sum is arrived at in the same way as the £983,000 quoted by the then Financial Secretary in 1925. Of course, by far the greater portion of this sum goes, as my hon. and gallant Friend pointed out, in such expensive things as the proof and trial of guns, shells and explosives, and full-scale tests of machinery, torpedoes and mines. It is difficult to draw a hard-and-fast line between research proper and the development which is the result of it, and, therefore, it is always hard to arrive at a satisfactory estimate of the cost of research apart from the various other kinds of work which have contributed towards the production of new or more efficient Types of weapons. If I were pressed to mention the sum spent on research alone, I should say it was probably in the neighbourhood of £250,000, but I think it would be really a better measure of what we are spending to-day in research on naval matters to take the larger sum that I have mentioned.

I am in sympathy with both my hon. Friends in the difficulty in which they find themselves as to the small amount that we are really spending on these matters, and I quite realise, with them, that, in comparison with what is spent by great industrial firms, the actual sum that is being spent by the Admiralty on this subject is very limited, and might be extended. At the same time, however, I think the House should bear in mind the fact that it is sometimes quite easy to spend too much on research, that you may quite easily spend more than is necessary if you imagine that you are going to make very quick discoveries, and that sometimes it is better, therefore, to spend less and to think more. The Admiralty is anxious to press forward with research, but, in addition to the question of national economy, one has to hear in mind what scientific men always admit, namely, that it is useless to try to force the pace in invention, and also that it is sometimes quite easy to imagine that your field of discovery is very large, whereas really the actual field in which you are operatting is comparatively small. Then there is the question, which was raised, I think, by the Mover of the Amendment, of the difficulty of attracting the right type of man for the particular classes of work which mainly concern the Navy, and I am inclined to think it is possible to exaggerate that point of view.

With regard to the Naval Research Department, my hon. and gallant Friend called attention to the small number of men who were available, but in this connection I would point out that the number allowed for in the Naval Estimates should, in estimating the total available manpower, be increased by a proportion of the workers in the joint establishments, such as the Research Department at Woolwich and the Chemical Warfare Establishment at Porton and Sutton Oak, because their work is also connected with Admiralty research. Speaking generally, the Admiralty has every reason to believe that it is holding its own in research, and that the progress of the research work has been and is satisfactory.

We have every confidence in the Director of Research at the Admiralty. He is a man who holds a great position in the scientific world. I regret that I am unable to deal in any detail with some of the more interesting research which is now in hand, but there have been marked advances in the solution of anti-submarine problems, methods of fire control have been improved and various improvements have also been made in the manufacture of uniform types of cordite and new instruments for technical navigation purposes. I should like also to deal with the fear that is sometimes expressed that the Admiralty is slow to take advantage of the results of scientific knowledge outside its service. I have said we have a Director of Research in whom we have every confidence, and who holds a high position in the scientific world, and it is far from the case to suppose for a moment that the scientists at the Admiralty are not in close touch with the scientific world. They are members of scientific societies, they contribute to scientific journals, and mix freely with scientists throughout the world. There is no doubt that our scientific experts at the Admiralty are men in whom the scientific world has every confidence. In addition, from a purely Admiralty point of view, the Director of Scientific Research has power, if he so wishes, to employ outside experts and outside firms for experimental work. Of course there are certain advantages in utilising outside assistance, but experience emphasises the fact that the Service requires a particular type of scientist to meet the specialised demands which it makes upon them and which can only be appreciated by men who are thoroughly in touch with the demands of the Service and the practice of the Navy.

My hon. Friend has drawn attention to one other important fact, namely, the competition that is going on between the Government, industrial concerns, and the universities for what after all is a limited supply of really first-class men. So far the Admiralty has been able to hold its own and we have had few losses, by which I mean few men have left 113 to take higher pay or better positions outside. But should the occasion coma when the competition is severe, and when the demand on our men is so great that there comes a danger of our losing them altogether, we shall have to see that the Admiralty does not suffer, and that the interests of the Service are looked after. There is this difficulty, that the work is so secret—the results cannot be published—that they do not get the honours and distinctions that they otherwise might, and it is difficult sometimes to know exactly how they are to be rewarded for their services. The Admiralty are giving this matter their very gravest attention. They are studying the matter of naval research in all its hearings, and I think the work of the Department is being carried on in an eminently satisfactory manner. Finally, may I assure the House that the Admiralty is fully alive to the paramount importance of scientific research, and is continually bringing into review new ideas and the fresh application of old ones, and that in such matters the Director of Research is daily assisting the Board of Admiralty, to use the words of Sir John Herschel: to make up our minds, not only as to the validity of what is done, but of the manner in which it has been clone, the methods employed, and the direction in which we are henceforth to proceed and the probability of further progress.

Supply considered in Committee.

[Captain FITZROY in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That 102,275 officers, seamen, boys and Royal Marines be employed for the Sea Service, together with 450 for the Royal Marine Police, borne on the books of His Majesty's ships, at the Royal Marine Divisions, and at Royal Air Force establishments, for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1928.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I beg to move to reduce the Vote by 100 men.

I move this reduction in order that we may assure the First Lord of the Admiralty that he is not going to get away with these Estimates without some further protest from these benches. The hon. Member who now ornaments the Front Treasury Bench, the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, has already given us two charming speeches, but he has not answered the criticism made against the Admiralty from this side of the House. Briefly, the case is this, that in spite of the retardation of ship-building programmes abroad, in spite of the great losses due to the coal dispute of last year, the Admiralty are continuing to grind out the programme which they wrung from the Treasury in 1925, and irrespective of what may happen abroad or at home, the urgent need of economy and the almost certainty of a deficit this year, they are still building ships to a number which we consider unnecessary, and we intend to divide the Committee as a protest.

The Admiralty have made no answer to the criticisms addressed to them from various parts of the House. For example, how is it when we are told that the Navy is being cut to the bone, when men on the established list are being discharged from the dockyards, and when every kind of economy is being exercised, according to the Admiralty, the Admiralty Office this year is costing £18,000 more than last year. I am all for an efficient naval staff. I realise that with the complexities of material in the Service, and the fact that we had no staff in the real sense of the word before the War, there must be an increase of the naval personnel at the Admiralty. I am glad that more scientists are employed at the Admiralty, but all this extra staff has been formed and organised in the years following the War. We are now nine years alter the end of the War, therefore this increase of £18,000 in the cost of the Admiralty Office this year demands some explanation other than the usual platitudes which we have had from the Financial Secretary.

I should like to refer to a technical question in regard to the Air Arm. I have given the First Lord notice of this. We are told that the number of aircraft this year, when the 30 new aeroplanes are completed, will be 146 compared with 305 in the first line of the United States Navy. I do not like to think that with this vast expenditure of money we are behind any naval Power in equipment; and in aircraft I think we are certainly behind. We are concentrating on the policy of aircraft carriers, great ships, large, vulnerable, conspicuous targets and unwieldy. They have their advantanges, they can carry torpedo tubes, but I think they have great disadvantages, and one of their disadvantages is that in order to launch an aeroplane they must turn head to wind, and so may lose a lot of ground. The Americans, on the other hand, have concentrated on the catapult system of launching aeroplanes, which has the advantage that they can be fitted to any cruiser and that in many cases it is not necessary for the cruiser to turn head to wind. A much smaller turning is required. I am not satisfied that the Admiralty is pushing on with this most important method of launching aircraft, and I am not satisfied that in the new ships, the £7,500,000 battleships, sufficient provision has been made for aircraft to be carried and launched by means of catapults.

This system means that the Fleet is independent of the aircraft carrier. If the aircraft carrier is torpedoed, it does not mean that the eyes of the fleet are put out. That is a most important matter; and I am not at all satisfied that the Admiralty are approaching this problem from the right angle. This is also another most important matter. The First Lord was extremely complacent in his statement about the power of the anti-aircraft guns of the Fleet. He said that with the power of the aircraft guns mounted on board ship, the Fleet is practically immune from attack by hostile aircraft. I think he is too optimistic. Practically the only experiments in firing at aircraft took place on land, where you have the anti-aircraft gun on a fixed platform, and that is altogether a different question from firing from a moving platform on a ship at sea. Every anti-aircraft gunner, and every airman, will agree with me that, at the end of the War, when an aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire it was because they flew into it. It is like the story of the man who brought down a pheasant. The old keeper said "They will fly into it sometimes." Anti-aircraft fire has the effect of making a machine fly down, but the number of thousands of shells that were fired and the number of planes brought down shows that this is a very complicated problem.

It may be that the right hon. Gentleman is correct and that anti-aircraft guns mounted on board a ship going at 30 knots an hour can bring down an aircraft flying at 130 miles an hour. He may be right; but has this been tested? Here we are against the difficulty of finding a suitable target. Towards the end of the War, it was found possible to control an aeroplane by wireless, and without anyone being on board. A manless controlled aeroplane was a practical possibility and I should like to know whether this invention has been developed not only as an offensive weapon but as a suitable target for the anti-aircraft guns of the fleet. I make the right hon. Gentleman a present, of that suggestion. I do not expect him to reply to me in detail but I hope he will give it his careful attention. Certainly the defence of ships against aircraft is a very grave problem of the future.

I wish to mention also the entering and training of officers for the Navy. You put a cadet into the Britannia College and make him into a Naval officer. His parents have to find the fees, £150 a year, for three years and eight months The young man has to be provided with uniform and instruments and books, and the ordinary expenses of a public school. I should think that it costs about 200 a year for three years and eight months to make a naval officer. It is true that about 30 per cent. of the cadets are taken at reduced fees. They are the sons of officers who were killed in the War. But apart from those 30 per cent., this system restricts the type of young officer to the sons of wealthy parents. That is not democratic. It is not only that the clever boy of poor parents from a. North country grammar school is absolutely precluded by the lack of means of his parents, but to-day the senior naval officer has the greatest difficulty in scraping together money to put his own son into the Service, and the retired naval officer is even more hardly hit. That is very bad indeed. The two Navies that I wish to refer to, the Japanese and American Navies, are not inefficient. The officer corps of them are devoted and self-sacrificing. There are no fees for cadets in either the Japanese or American Service. Any clever boy who can pass his examination, receives the schoolmaster's certificate, and has the necessary ability and physique, can enter the Service as an officer, and his parents are relieved of further anxiety and expense. Why is that not the case here? Are we not a democracy here Can Japan afford it? The aristocratic tradition in Japan is as strong as or stronger thin that of this country. Japan can get the officers, and we could get them here.

Is it still suggested that brains and ability are the monopoly of one class, and that the rich class? It is not even a question of boys of good family and breeding. It is simply a question of money. The plutocrat's son, the war profiteer's son, can become an officer in the Navy, but the sons of British naval officers who have not large means, cannot go into our Navy. A large class of eligible youths is, therefore, cut, off from the Navy. The system was to have been reformed by the Labour Government. We had promises to that effect from the hen. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) and I know that the matter was sympathetically considered. It would not ruin us to make the change. The whole cost would be only £68,000 year. Surely this country can afford that to democratise the naval service and to open it to all classes on the one test of merit. I do not want to make this a class question. I do object to it being made a money question, however, and I press the matter on the Admiralty.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman moving a reduction or an increase of the Estimate?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

If the hon. and gallant Member had attended for a longer period to his Parliamentary duties, he would know that the only way of discussing grievances on Supply, which is one of the most prized practices of the House, is to move a reduction of an Estimate. I have moved a reduction of the Vote by 100 men, and I propose to divide the Committee upon it.


I think I am in order on this Vote in referring to certain grievances which I wish to raise in connection with the dockyards. I wish, first, to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what exactly is the position of the naval shipwrights? As far as I can see, they have lost their position of being attached to the bigger vessels as part of the crew and in the regular complement of men. They have now to go as redundant to the ship's company, and they are not, strictly speaking, borne on the ship's books. That is a serious position for these men, and I wish to ask if it indicates another policy in regard to them, which would in any wise deteriorate their status in the Navy. It is a matter which is gravely disturbing these men, and they fail to understand it. I attach a great deal of importance to the question of employment at the dockyards, and I do not understand why it should be the case that nothing of substance has been assigned to the dockyard at Chatham which is within my constituency. 0wing to the unfortunate coal trouble this year, the cruiser "Kent" has been delayed in completion, and I can see nothing in the new programme of any substance which is going to Chatham. I find on the other hand that several new cruisers, I think five is the number, are to be laid down in yards in the North, not under Government control, and orders for submarines, and repair work are, I understand, going to shipyards which are not Government dockyards.

In my view this is a matter which calls for strong protest. It is quite clear that it is the duty of the Admiralty to make provision for work in their own yards. It has to be borne in mind that these yards cannot compete for outside work, whereas the other shipyards can do so. They can compete for contracts for new ships required in the mercantile service, or for orders from foreigners for cruisers and other work. In the case of Chatham the discharges which have commenced, and which we are told are to be progressive, will prove disastrous to the town. This policy arrests all building progress. Some 400 men were sent by the Admiralty to Chatham from Pembroke and Rosyth, and every effort has been made by the local authorities there to meet the extra demand for houses which was created by the coming of these men and which was an addition to the difficulties already existing. What will the council do as prudent men in the present situation? Will they continue the policy of building? To have something like 600 or 700 men in this position in the towns of Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester is a very serious thing indeed. It is practically impossible for them to move North or to any other part, because the shipwrights, the boilermakers, the mechanics, engineers, and the like engaged in the yard, even if they can find work in the North, cannot find accommodation. I, therefore, plead most urgently with the Admiralty that they will find for us more work, which they could do. What merit is it, if work exists, in giving it to find jobs for men in the employment of private contractors, in the North or elsewhere? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] approve those cheers in one sense, but not in the sense possibly in which they are meant. I still believe in private enterprise, but I want to point out to those hon. Members whose utterances I hear that it only shows what it would be like if everything was under Government. Perhaps in the course of this Debate some of those hon. Members who are so very noisy will let us know what they would do if these men were thrown out of the dockyard. Every Socialist who has ever stood against me has had some scheme for making window frames or something of that kind.

However that may be, I urge on the Admiralty more consideration for these men. The men suffer very seriously in another aspect. It is sad beyond words, but the Government discharge on age, at 60, substantially everybody, though in special circumstances they allow them to go on to 61 or 62. What is the result of that? In my constituency a great number of men who are discharged at the age of 60, the great majority of them not established and, therefore, without pensions, at that age cannot get work the towns, and there is now an interval of five years before they can hope to get the benefit of the Widows' and Orphans' Pension Act—[Laughter]—I do not know whether that laughter is meant for me, but may I remind hon. Members that the Widows' and Orphans' Pension Act also contains this provision, that insured men get old age pensions at 65? Perhaps they have forgotten that, if they ever knew it. I am pointing out that these men are in that position. They are turned out at 60 and cannot get employment, and they drift on to odd jobs occasionally, until they die or disappear, and there is nothing for them and little or no hope of a pension at 65. What I suggest to the Admiralty is that they might consider whether something should be done to assist these men by the Government paying their share of a voluntary contribution, so as to continue the men in insurance until the age of 65. It would be a great relief to them.

In regard to the established men, they have, throughout their period of establishment, lost all claim to unemployment benefit. No insurance is paid to them. I ask that the Government should, in regard to these men, continue the contribution to the unemployment insurance scheme so that, when they go out, they can at least have the benefit of coming upon that fund and of being able to ask for unemployment relief until they can get fresh work. I, therefore, press upon the Government, in regard to the conditions of employment which exist in the dockyards, that their first duty is to find work for the men there employed and their second duty is to consider what can be done when they pass from their work and are discharged from the yards.

I would like to draw attention to another great grievance, namely, the dissatisfaction in the Navy in regard to men who are invalided. There is a great complaint that men are invalided for causes which are set up by the service, but, when they are examined by a doctor, they are certified as being invalided for constitutional causes, although they passed in perfect physical health a few years before. Will not the Admiralty set up an independent appeal tribunal for these men, so that they may be satisfied that their case is fairly and properly dealt with? I have had several cases brought to my notice, and all I ask is that there should be an independent medical appeal tribunal of doctors who are entirely independent of the Admiralty. It is a very important point with regard to these long service men, because otherwise they cannot get a full pension, but only an invaliding pension. I ask the Admiralty to consider it favourably.

I would also like to say a word on the question of invaliding for injury. In my view, having had great experience of these cases for 16 or 17 years, the method by which they are dealt with is most unsatisfactory. There is a scheme under which the Admiralty deals with these cases themselves, but that really means that they are dealt with by the Treasury. There is, first of all, a very grave abuse to which there is no answer, and if one took the Admiralty into a County Court, one could recover judgment without doubt. A very common form of complaint from which these men suffer, through lifting heavy weights, is rupture. The Treasury, after having recognised it for some considerable time, now adopt the practice of saying, "We will provide you with a truss instead of paying you." That is contrary to law. Under the Workmen's Compensation Act, upon which this is based, no medical expenses and nothing in the nature of a truss can be recovered. That has been decided in the Courts, yet these men who sustain these injuries are put off by the Treasury through the Admiralty by saying that their injuries can be met by a truss. I would like to know how many men at the Treasury know anything about rupture at all. If they did, they would deal much more fairly with this class of case. I do not think Members on the Labour benches suffer much from rupture. I do not think many of them have done hard work in their lives.

There is another great grievance. A man sustains a serious injury, which is undisputed. What do the Admiralty do? They very properly and kindly, after he has been in hospital for some months, transfer him to duty, putting him on light work. I have no complaint to make against that. It is true he does net get the advance in wages he would otherwise have had, but I make no complaint of that. They give him light work until he attains the age of 60. Then he is discharged from the yard, and, broken down in health, he appeals to me to assist him. I constantly apply to the Admiralty, and they say, "No." The Financial Secretary to the Admiralty will get to learn about this, if he has not learned already, but I have no complaint to make as to his replies, which are always exceedingly courteous. Everything, I know, goes to the Treasury, who say: "Oh, he continued at work without loss of wages till the age of 60. We cannot, therefore, give him anything." That is all wrong. It could not be done outside. The Admiralty say they will give nothing, and cannot, of course, be put in the County Court. I could gibe half-a-dozen cases off-hand, and the worst of it is that these men are in a hopeless plight. The man has worked up to 60, having been injured at work in the Government employ, and they give him nothing. Then he goes to the open market, and cannot get employment, which is not strange. He goes to the employment exchange, and says: "I am entitled to unemployment benefit." "Oh, no," they say, "you are not normally fit for employment." That is true, but the Admiralty will gibe him nothing because the Treasury bar the way, and the employment exchange will give nothing because of the Regulation which says he is not normally fit for employment in the constituency I represent there are hundreds and hundreds of these men thrust out almost to starve, because of the manner with which their cases are dealt. [Interruption.] I did not hear that remark. I gather that the intelligence of some Members is so great that they can interrupt, and when you turn round with courtesy and ask them what they said, they are ashamed to repeat it.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I said that is a form of nationalisation.

11.0 p.m.


Where does nationalisation come in? I do not follow. In my view it is not an answer as intelligent as silence would have been. [Laughter.] I put this case very seriously. It is no laughing matter. I see these poor fellows half-clad, or wretchedly clad, and almost starving, and I fight their cases, and I cannot always get them through. I get letters from the Admiralty which gener- ally start by saying, "Unless you can produce further evidence we frankly cannot put the case before the Treasury, because the case has been there already." I generally do get further evidence; but my constituents suffer greatly in these cases. The worst of it is that, whereas in civil life I should have no trouble With them at all, because I should put the employers into the County Court, I cannot do that with the Admiralty, on account of the scheme they have got. That is the way they administer things, and I do hope they will pay attention to what I have said. Hon. Members who are laughing and interrupting me may remember the case of a little fellow who was smashed up in the dockyard and who never got a halfpenny until I took up his case in 1910. He now has 30s. a week, and I am proud of it. If other hon. Members had to deal with dockyards, they would know that this matter was a very serious one, and I would impress upon the Admiralty that it ought to be looked into, and the grievances ought to be redressed, and that both in the case of those who are discharged, and those who are invalided out, more attention should be paid to their statements and to the actual physical disability from which they suffer.


I have one point to raise, which I will do very shortly. Everyone will remember the splendid work done by our minesweepers in the War. I want to ask the Admiralty whether they are satisfied, if we were so unfortunate as to be involved in war again, that they would find the requisite number of trawlers to act as sweepers. As far as I can make out, there are now upon the register, and therefore presumably afloat, 1,500 trawlers, but of these 243 are over 25 years old and 163 are over 20 years old. If we take the life of a trawler as being 20 years, it means, on the basis of 1,500 trawlers being required, that we ought to build 75 trawlers each year to keep up to that standard. Last year we built 13. If that goes on we shall soon be reduced to a lamentable state as regards trawlers. I believe nearly all those 13 were built for people in my constituency in Hull, where the trawling interest is very large. What I ask the Admiralty to consider is that we are now, as I reckon it, five years behind with the replacement of our trawlers. That cannot go on indefinitely. I do not know whether the Admiralty can offer any inducements to people to build more trawlers, but I feel that unless something is done the position will become very serious.


A very small number of questions have arisen on this Vote. I will deal with them as well as I can. The trawler question is new to me, and I do not at present see exactly how the Admiralty can help.


Perhaps the Board of Agriculture could deal with it. [Laughter.] I mean that quite seriously. That is the Department that deals with fishing.


I am not in the least unsympathetic towards the hon. Member's appeal, and I shall be only too glad if he can show me any way in which the Admiralty could help; or if I could use my good offices in approaching the Board of Agriculture I would be very glad to do so, and perhaps I may have the benefit of my hon. Friend's views in the matter. The hon. and learned Member for Gillingham (Sir G. Hohler) raised a number of questions concerning the Admiralty and various Government Departments against whom he fulminated, including the Treasury and the Minister of Health. With regard to insurance questions I refer him to the responsible Minister. The hon. and learned Member for Gillingham also spoke about accidents, and I am sure the Committee would like to avoid any injustice in dealing with any accidents. He also spoke in general terms, but I cannot help thinking that he spoke with some exaggeration when he said there were hundreds and thousands of these accidents—


I never mentioned thousands. My right hon. Friend must not add to my figures, and he had better make his own speech for himself.


I think he did say hundreds, but if he had that number of cases to deal with I do not think he would be able to attend to them, and do his duty in the law courts.


I am sure the First Lord does not wish to say anything dis- courteous or unusual, but may I ask what right has he to refer to my practice. If my constituents are satisfied that is sufficient for me.


I have known my hon. and learned Friend very intimately for a long time, but I suggest that he rather overstated his case. Perhaps he may find time to put these cases before my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary in a concrete form and not in the abstract as he has done to-night. He spoke about a number of invalided cases in which men were not allowed to get the pension because their illness was declared not to be attributable to service With that I have a great deal of sympathy. It is a question I am investigating and I want to go very carefully into it, because I do not feel sure that some improvement cannot be introduced which would more fully satisfy our sense of justice.

I am not sure whether the setting up of another appeal is the proper course to adopt. I should not like to answer definitely at this moment, but I think something more ought to be done to improve the working of the system. Naturally, a, man with an appeal only to the Board of Admiralty would be rather reluctant to use it, and, on the other hand, you do not want appeals in every case, because there are many cases in which appeals could not be successful. But, after I have looked into it, I hope I may see some way of dealing with it which will be more satisfactory to hon. Members who represent constituents suffering in this way.

My hon. and learned Friend attacked us on the question of housing. The trouble is that the Admiralty have not power to house their own employés, but we have been trying in very many ways to deal with it, and at Devonport we have now, I hope, arrived at a plan by which a considerable number of dockyard workers will be housed on land which belongs to the Admiralty, by the formation of a company which will finance the scheme. A similar scheme, I hope, may be possible at other dockyards, but in these, unfortunately, the Admiralty are not the owners of land which would be suitable, and we have to try to find other land, and this is engaging the attention of the Civil Lord and of my advisers at the Admiralty.

There were two other grievances of my hon. and learned Friend. One had something to do with the naval shipwrights. I had a deputation from them a little time ago, and I thought they were satisfied, but if they have any further grievance and my hon. and learned Friend will tell me what it is, I will look into it. His last point was that more cruisers ought to be built in the Royal dockyards and fewer in the outside yards. Naturally, all hon. Members representing dockyard towns think that, but there are other hon. Members who represent shipbuilding constituencies who might think otherwise.

The question of giving employment cannot be looked upon as a local matter, and employment should be as widely distributed as possible. If all the Royal naval work were confined to the Royal dockyards, the skilled workmen in the other yards would probably have to leave the country, and, if an emergency took place and the Royal yards were filled up we would not be able to deal with the emergency. It is quite out of the question to say that all building must he done in the Royal yards. I should be very glad if it were possible, as I hope it may be, to find a certain amount of other smaller work which has not hitherto been done in the Royal yards which can be given to them, and which might absorb a certain amount of surplus labour. But they must not state their grievances too high. If my hon. and learned Friend had given the amount of study to the estimate which it so richly deserves he would have found that instead of five new cruisers to be built in the northern dockyards, only three are to be built, two of which are to be in the Royal yards.


If my right hon. Friend will look at page 120 of the Estimates, he will find that I am right. There are the "Sussex," the "Norfolk," and the "York." Are not they all cruisers?


What my hon. and learned Friend was referring to was this year's Estimate, and that is what we are discussing to-night.


If my right hon. Friend will look at page 180, I think he will find that I am right.


Does my hon. and learned Friend really suggest that we should lift some of the ships that have already been laid down on the Clyde, the Tyne and elsewhere, and Bring them to the South?


That will not do!


This year we are building three cruisers, and that is all that we are talking about to-night. Two of those are being built in the Royal Dockyards, and one somewhere else, so I am not far wrong when I say that the Royal Dockyards at any rate are not losing their proportion of the work of new construction. Now I come to a few observations made by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). He spoke about the number of the staff at the Admiralty—

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

The cost.


Naturally, there is always some slight automatic increase as time goes on, and officers arrive at higher pay, but the number is practically the same. It has gone down by, I think, 100 during the last two years, and I should be very glad, if I saw it to be possible, to reduce it still further. But there is one fact that hon. Members of the House never will understand, and that is that the work at the Admiralty in looking after the Navy to-day, although it is smaller than it was before, is very much more complicated. Look at any modern ship, and look at the number of complicated mechanical appliances that it contains, as compared with ships even just before the War. There are any amount of new inventions, and all of these have to be watched from the Admiralty. For each you have to have an expert, for each you have to have an inspector, and you have to be most careful that what you are ordering by contract is properly made and properly delivered. Therefore, it is absurd to compare the work at the Admiralty to-day with the work it had to do before the War. If you are going to talk about the general increase of staff, then let your criticisms be fair all round, and look at the staffs of some of the other Departments. They could probably justify the increases as well as I think I can, but it really is essential that people should realise how very much more complicated a machine it is that we have to work. It is smaller, but efficiency is still more important, and to get efficiency you want a very considerable headquarter staff. The hon. and gallant Member also asked about the progress with catapults for aircraft in the Navy. We have now one catapult in the "Vindictive," and 13 more are going to be fitted in the course of this year, so that I hope the hon. and gallant Member will be satisfied that we are making some progress in that direction.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Are the new cruisers being fitted?


As to the new cruisers which are being laid down this year, we should not like to prophesy so long in advance, but 13 are going to be fitted in ships which we think fit to carry them. Then the hon. and gallant Member spoke about Dartmouth, and I think his argument was very well answered by one of my hon. and gallant Friends on this side, who pointed out that, white he was suggesting that the Estimates should be reduced, his proposal would really increase them. What he suggested may he the ideal from his point of view, but if everyone was to get free education at Dartmouth that would be a very expensive thing for the country. I am not satisfied that the present system is not working well enough and giving us what we require.


It is keeping up class distinctions.


There is no class distinction. Anyone who is capable of passing the examination can get in.


How many workers can pay £200?


The hon. Member does not understand that there are reduced fees for those who can show that they are unable to pay the whole fee.


The right hon. Gentleman does not suggest that parents whose wage earnings are from £2 to £3 per week can provide this special examination fee?


I did not say that the very poorest, perhaps, could afford the reduced fee. If you are going to carry that argument to its full length, you must give free education to everyone for every profession. [HON. MEMBERS: "Equality of opportunity!"] I say they have had the opportunity, though, perhaps, there are not very many who can take advantage of it.

There is one other point. With regard to anti-aircraft attack, the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) said we were taking to ourselves too much credit for progress that has been made with antiaircraft. It is very difficult to prove whether that is right or wrong. The hon. and gallant Member said there might be some kinds of aeroplanes which you could let off without anyone in them to form a target for practice. That would not be as good practice as shooting at an aeroplane with someone in it. If the hon. and gallant Member will volunteer—

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I would not mind if the right hon. Gentleman were the only person to shoot.


The right hon. Gentleman would be perfectly safe, for I should be very sorry to aim straight at him, even if I could. I think I have answered all the questions and hope we may now get the Vote.


I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has done complete justice to the question put to him by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham. He ran away from it by saying there were many dockyards in which the Admiralty had not got land in which which they could make provision for housing. The only question I should like to ask is whether in Chatham there is not some land available for the Admiralty on which they could make provision for the deficiency to which the hon. and learned Member referred.


I thought I said that I was inquiring whether there was any land belonging to some other Government Department. The matter is certainly engaging our attention, and if a scheme similar to the one which is being brought forward at Devonport could be set up in other dockyard towns we should be glad to do what we could to help.

Question put, That 102,175 Officers, Seamen, Boys, and Royal Marines, together with 450 for the Royal Marine Police, be employed for the said Service.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 91; Noes, 250.

Division No. 43.] AYES. [11.26 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hirst, G. H. Ritson, J.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hill(bro') Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks,W.R.,Elland)
Amman, Charles George Hore-Bellsha, Leslie Rose, Frank H.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Batey, Joseph Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Scrymgesur, E.
Broad, F, A. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Scurr, John
Bromfield, William Kelly, W. T. Sexton, James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kennedy, T. Shiels, Dr. Drummsnd
Buchanan, G. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M Short. Alfred (Wednesbury)
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury, George Snell, Harry
Clowes, S. Lawrence, Susan Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, John James Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Connolly, M. Lee, F. Sutton, J. E.
Crawfurd, H. E. Lindley, F. W. Taylor, R. A.
Dalton, Hugh Lunn, William Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro., W.)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Mackinder, W. Tinker, John Joseph
Day, Colonel Harry MscLaren, Andrew Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Dennison, R. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Viant, S. P
Duncan, C. March, S. Walsh, Rt. Hen. Stephen
Dunnico, H. Maxton, James Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Mosley, Oswald Wellock, Wilfred
Gardner, J. P. Naylor, T. E. Westwood, J.
Gibbins, Joseph Oliver, George Harold Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Gillett, George M. Owen, Major G. Wilson, R. J. narrow)
Grenfell. D. R. (Glamorgan) Palin, John Henry Windsor, Walter
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Paling, W. Wright, W.
Groves, T. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Halt, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Ponsonby, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hardle, George D. Potts, John S. Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Whiteley.
Hayday, Arthur Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Riley, Ben
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Forrest, W. Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T, Foster, Sir Harry S. Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Albery, Irving James Fraser, Captain Ian Nelson, Sir Frank
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Frece, Sir Walter de Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Nuttall, Ellis
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Oakley, T.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Ganzoni, Sir John O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Gates, Percy Penny, Frederick George
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent,Dover) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Astor, Viscountess Goff, Sir Park Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Atkinson, C. Gower, Sir Robert Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Balfour, George (Wampstead) Grant, Sir J. A. Price, Major C. W. M.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Radford, E. A.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Greene, W. P. Crawford Raine, W.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Remer, J. R.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Grotrian, H. Brent Rentoul, G. S.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bennett, A. J. Gunston, Captain D. W. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Betterton, Henry B. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastb'rne) Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stratford)
Blundell, F N. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Ropner, Major L.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hammersley, S. S. Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Russell, Alexander West- (Tynemouth)
Brass, Captain W. Harland, A. Ryo, F. G.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Salmon, Major I.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Harrison, G. J. C. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Briggs, J. Harold Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Sandeman, A. Stewart
Briscoe, Richard George Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Brittain, Sir Harry Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxl'd, Henley) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Sandon, Lord
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Herbert,S.(York, N.R.,Sear. & Wh'hy) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hills, Major John Waiter Savery, S. S.
Brown, Brig.-Gen.H-C.(Berks,Newb'y) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir O. (St. Marylebone) Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Burman, J. B. Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Holland, Sir Arthur Shepperson, E. W.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Holt, Captain H. P. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Skelton, A. N.
Butt, Sir Alfred Hopkins, J. W. W. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Campbell, E. T. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Carver, Major W. H. Hudson, R.S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n) Smithers, Waldron
Cassels, J. D. Hume, Sir G. H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cayzer,Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hutchison, G. A.Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Iliffe, Sir Edward M Storry-Deans, R.
Charterls, Brigadier-General J. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Jacob, A. E. Styles, Captain H. Walter
Clayton, G. C. Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Cobb, Sir Cyril Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. King, Captain Henry Douglas Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Knox, Sir Alfred Thomson, F. C, (Aberdeen, South)
Cooper, A. Duff Lamb, J. Q. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Cope, Major William Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Tinne, J. A.
Couper, J. B. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Courtauld, Major J. S. Loder, J. de V. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Looker, Herbert William Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Waddington, R.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Wallace, Captain D. E.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Maclntyre, Ian Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Crookshank,Cpt. H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) McLean, Major A Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Macmillan, Captain H. Warrender, Sir Victor
Davidson,J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil) McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dawson, Sir Philip Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Waits, Dr. T.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Margesson, Captain D. Wells, S. R.
England, Colonel A. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Merriman, F. B. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Meyer, Sir Frank Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Wilson M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Monsell, Eyres, Com- Rt. Hon. B. M. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Fermoy, Lord Moore, Sir Newton J. Windser-Clive Lieut.-Colonel George
Ford, Sir P Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Morrison, H, (Wilts, Salisbury) Wise, Sir Fredric
Withers, John James Wood, Sir S. Hill. (High Peak) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Wolmer, Viscount Woodcock, Colonel H. C. Major Sir George Hennessy and
Womersley, W. J. Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich) Captain Lord Stanley.
Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)

Original Question put, and agreed to.