HC Deb 26 July 1944 vol 402 c748
20. Mr. Bellenger

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many officers promoted from the lower deck have reached flag rank.

Mr. Alexander

One officer from the lower deck has been promoted in recent years to flag rank and retained on the Active List.

Mr. Bellenger

In view of the length of time this system of promotion has been in force, now over 30 years, does the right hon. Gentleman's answer reflect on the abilities of those officers who have been promoted, or does it cast some reflection on the operation of the system?

Mr. Alexander

Certainly it does not reflect on the abilities of the officers. The original system, introduced before the last great war, did tend on experience to bring men to commissioned rank at too old an age to get right through to the top. This was revised in the scheme called the Upper Yardman Scheme in 1931, and I think that the tendency in future will be to have a larger number of promotions.

Mr. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend making any arrangements so that likely young men who come into the Navy can be picked out, as they are in some parts of the Civil Service, and given an opportunity for training equal to those outside?

Mr. Alexander

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Cocks

Was not promotion from the lower deck more rapid in the last war?

Mr. Alexander

No, Sir.