HC Deb 20 November 1940 vol 365 cc1970-1
32. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will consider the position of men who, not being naval pensioners but having experience of the sea, and being over 50 years of age, offered their services to the Admiralty just before and just after war broke out and were accepted but now find naval service too arduous, who are qualified to do work ashore in shipyards and factories and are willing and anxious to do such work, thereby releasing younger men for work afloat and whether, in collaboration with other Departments concerned, he will take steps to have such men released from the Navy and put to such work ashore?

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

I presume that my hon. Friend is referring to ex-naval ratings who rejoined the Royal Navy soon after the outbreak of war for service until the end of the emergency. The policy of the Admiralty is to employ men over the age of 48 on shore as soon as there are trained ratings to relieve them from sea service. There are many naval shore appointments for which experienced ratings are essential, and I regret that it is not possible to release them from their engagements. If my hon. Friend has in mind any case in which particular hardship is involved I should be prepared to consider it.

Mr. Woodburn

Will my right hon. Friend look into the question of the number of men over 55 years of age who are on shore duty and who claim that they are not getting enough to do in the way of work?

Mr. Alexander

Certainly. Perhaps my hon. Friend will tell me from what centre the complaints come.