HC Deb 08 May 1940 vol 360 c1220
41. Mr. Loftus

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any decision has yet been reached regarding offering any employment to the Lowestoft skippers who recently commanded Royal Navy patrol vessels to the entire satisfaction of their superiors and who are now without any employment whatsoever?

Sir V. Warrender

As my hon. Friend knows, the possibility of these men being granted appointments as temporary skippers in the Royal Naval Reserve has been fully considered. Candidates for such appointments must, however, have served at sea as skipper of a British steam or motor fishing vessel within the previous two years if they are under 45 years of age or within one year if they are over 45. The men to which my hon. Friend refers do not satisfy this condition, while in addition the majority of them are above the normal upper age limit of 55. In view of their past satisfactory services, I am still endeavouring to find them employment, and I will communicate further with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Loftus

Will my hon. Friend expedite his decision, in view of the fact that these men have splendid records in two wars and are now living on unemployment benefit; secondly, if I put the Question down immediately after the Whitsuntide Recess does he hope to be in a position to answer it?

Sir V. Warrender

There has been no delay. One of the difficulties is to find employment which would be suitable for these men and from which their ages would not preclude them. If the hon. Gentleman puts down the Question he suggests I hope I shall be in a position to answer it.