HC Deb 02 August 1939 vol 350 cc2375-7
69. Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can now state the terms under which the crews of the trawlers taken over by the Admiralty will be engaged to serve in these ships?

71. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what arrangements have been made to man the trawlers taken over by the Admiralty?

78. . Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how it is intended to man the 80 trawlers recently purchased for Admiralty work; whether they will be manned exclusively by Royal Naval Reserve ratings; and whether, to mitigate the unemployment which will be caused on the Humber, preference will be given to ratings from the Humber ports?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)

It is intended that in general these trawlers shall be manned by men of the Royal Naval Reserve Patrol Service, which is recruited from fishermen. The personnel for manning trawlers in home waters will be invited to volunteer for service for six months and, having done so, will be called up under the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces Act so as to give them the full protection of that Act. A smaller number from the Royal Naval Reserve will be required for service abroad, and these will be invited to enter into a temporary naval engagement for a period of one year, with possible extension. They will serve as naval ratings. In both cases preference will be given to members of the Patrol Service from the Humber ports. It will be appreciated that it is necessary to man these vessels with crews who have already had naval training in the Patrol Service, but in the case of skippers who may be most adversely affected by the purchase of these trawlers, consideration will be given to skippers who are not members of the Patrol Service, but who volunteer for service, should the number of Patrol Service skippers volunteering prove insufficient.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

While thanking my hon. Friend for what he has said, may I ask whether consideration will be given to those men of the crews who may be too old to enlist in the Royal Naval Reserve or who have been in the Royal Naval Reserve and have already passed the Service, and who would, in the case of war, be accepted for service in these trawlers, having in view the question of their re-employment in ships which are at present laid up?

Mr. Shakespeare

I will consider that point with sympathy.

Mr. Garro Jones

Has the hon. Gentleman made any estimate of the extent to which these 84 trawlers will be manned by fishermen not now in the Fleet Reserve, and to what extent correspondingly they will be manned by people who are not engaged on those trawlers, and, therefore, what will be the extent of the displacement of trawl fishermen?

Mr. Shakespeare

I have tried to get figures, but so far have not succeeded in getting them.

Sir A. Lambert Ward

Will it be possible for the Royal Naval Reserve to be thrown open to further recruitment so that some of these men who will lose their jobs by the purchase of these trawlers could, by entering the Royal Naval Reserve, obtain employment?

Mr. Shakespeare

I am afraid I could not hold out any hope of that, because we are governed by our establishment.

73. Mr. A. Jenkins

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether any of the work of converting the trawlers to be purchased, to the purposes of the Royal Navy, is to be carried out at the ports on the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel; and, if so, what number of the trawlers are to be dealt with in that district?

79. Mr. Howard Gritten

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in view of the fact that the Government are purchasing numbers of trawlers for conversion for Admiralty work and in view of the grave amount of unemployment in the Hartlepools, especially in the distressed area of Hartlepool, orders for such conversion can be placed with firms in the Hartlepools?

Mr. Shakespeare

The allocation of the work of conversion of these trawlers purchased by the Admiralty is being worked out. All relevant considerations will be borne in mind including the facilities available in the various firms for performing the work most expeditiously, and the desirability of allocating as much of the refitting work as possible to the ports from which the vessels will be taken.

Mr. Gritten

Will my hon. Friend specially bear in mind the distressed area of Hartlepool?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, Sir, I have that and other ports in mind