HC Deb 22 February 1939 vol 344 cc369-70
41. Mr. T. Smith (for Mr. Paling)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many men have made application to join the Navy in the last 12 months for which figures are available; how many were accepted, and how many rejected on medical grounds?

Colonel Llewellin

The number of candidates who applied to enter the Royal Navy or Royal Marines, during the year ended 31st December, 1938, is 65,240. Of these, 15,428 were accepted for entry and 25,794 were rejected on medical grounds. A further 1,162 candidates were entered during this period mainly as a result of competitive examination, but figures are not available as to the number who applied to compete at these examinations.

Mr. Smith

Has any inquiry been made as to why such a large number of young men should be rejected on medical grounds?

Colonel Llewellin

Yes, I can give some approximate figures to the House. Some 45 per cent. of the rejections were on grounds of eyesight, including colour blindness, 15 per cent. were on account of teeth, and 7½ per cent. for ear trouble.

Mr. Logan

May I take it that none have been refused on account of Irish nationality?

Colonel Llewellin

None, Sir. We get some very good recruits for the Royal Navy both from North and South Ireland.

Mr. Thorne

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman refer that question of eyesight to the Minister of Education?

Colonel Llewellin

Yes, Sir.