HC Deb 10 July 1941 vol 373 cc321-2
77. Mr. Woodburn

asked the First Lord of the. Admiralty whether he is aware of the indignation among Scottish fishermen of lower medical categories that, owing to the rigidly high physical standards exacted by the Navy, they find themselves allocated to the Army for which, as fishermen they feel themselves quite unsuited, and denied the opportunity of serving at sea; and whether, in view of their experience outweighing any slight physical disability, he will ensure that fishermen will be given opportunities to serve at sea?

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Captain Austin Hudson)

The physical standard required for entry into the Royal Navy has been, and is, Grade I,-but some exceptions to this rule have been made in the case of fishermen in view of their special qualifications for service in small ships. In accordance with this policy, such lower medical standards as are com- patible with the duties required of these men and the necessity that no vessel or its crew is endangered by physical failure at a critical moment, have been accepted. At present no fishermen, with the exception of salmon and inshore fishermen, below Medical Grade I are being called up, and all Grade I fishermen who are called up are being enrolled in the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that certain fishermen who come into the category A3 are definitely allocated to the Army and that they feel that a fisherman, even with a limp, with his knowledge of the sea, is equal to any number of landlubbers, though AI?

Captain Hudson

I have said in the last part of the answer that no fishermen below Grade I are being called up.