§ 16. Mr. Ralph Etherton
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that a man who has expressed a preference for the Navy and is called up under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, for the Army is not granted a transfer to the Navy unless the man has, in the opinion of the Army authorities, sufficient previous seafaring experience; whether men are only called up for the Navy if they have had previous seafaring experience; and whether he will have inquiries made into the present practice, which is preventing men keen to serve in the Navy from joining that Service?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Victor Warrender)
I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour last Thursday and by the Secretary of State for War yesterday. The question of a transfer from the Army arises only in those rare cases where a man's special naval qualifications have been overlooked previously. I am satisfied that the present procedure is adequate to deal with such cases.
§ Mr. Etherton
Does the Minister realise that in certain districts men who have expressed preference for the Navy have been called up for the Army without the naval authorities being consulted? Does he approve of this procedure?
§ Sir V. Warrender
The fact is that there are many more men who express preference for the Navy than the Navy can possibly take. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I shall be glad to look into it, but he must not assume that we can meet the desire of all those who wish to join the Navy.