HC Deb 22 October 1941 vol 374 cc1772-3
36. Sir W. Smithers

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will inform the House of the terms of a Fleet Order dated 28th November, 1940?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Victor Warrender)

Yes, Sir. The Fleet Order, which was printed for posting on Notice Boards, reads as follows: In the conviction that the present war is a struggle between good and evil, and that in the practice of the Christian Religion may be found to-day the same support experienced by our Forefathers in establishing in the Royal Navy those ideals of service and sacrifice which we have inherited: Their Lordships, whilst appreciating that under conditions of war, the instructions regarding Sunday work can seldom be realised, wish to emphasise the need for observing the instructions for the holding of Divine Service and Prayers. They further direct that in battleships and cruisers all possible steps should be taken to provide a space set apart for the worship of God.

Sir W. Smithers

Will my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend to bring that Fleet Order to the notice of the heads of the other two Services and his colleagues in the Cabinet, and ask them if they can issue a similar Order?

Sir V. Warrender

This Fleet Order was issued after consultation with, and advice from, the Chaplain-General of the Fleet. My right hon. Friend has no doubt that his colleagues in the other Service Departments have an equal opportunity of consulting with, and obtaining advice from, their Chaplains-General.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is the hon. Gentle-man aware that some Members representing maritime constituencies have received letters from constituents complaining that denominational difficulties have arisen in regard to attendance at divine service, and can he say that these matters are receiving attention at the Admiralty?

Sir V. Warrender

They are constantly under consideration, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that there are considerable difficulties.