HC Deb 28 March 1945 vol 409 cc1358-9
67. Mr. Petherick

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, before promulgating the recent order for civilian personnel employed by the Admiralty to wear R.N.V.R, uniform whilst serving in the Pacific, he gave full consideration to the resentment it might arouse among R.N.V.R. officers, especially as this civilian personnel is immediately to outrank most of them, despite their long years of service and that this civilian personnel are empowered to enforce naval discipline but are not amenable to it themselves.

Mr. Alexander

These civilians are officers, generally with long Admiralty experience, who perform duties of operational importance to the Navy. In ordinary circumstances they perform these in a purely civilian capacity, but the conditions in the Pacific zone have made the grant of Naval rank essential. The rank given is that required for the performance of the duties and the uniform is that of the Special Branch of the R.N.V.R. with its distinctive green bands. A similar course has been taken throughout the war where the nature of the duties to be performed has made this necessary. I have no reason to believe that other R.N.V.R. officers do not appreciate the necessity for this.

Mr. Petherick

Will the Minister be good enough to make further inquiries into this matter, in view of the fact that it must be extremely galling for officers with many years' active service to have a lot of civilians suddenly put in over their heads?

Mr. Alexander

All these appointments must be subject to qualifications to do the job, and I can assure my hon. Friend that the members of the R.N.V.R. know the position quite well.