§ 42. Mr. Willis
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that C.E.R.A.s and E.R.A.s holding C.P.O. rank are being detailed on some ships for 1314 patrol duties; and will he take steps to ensure that these skilled and experienced ratings do not have their already heavy duties increased in this manner.
Chief and engine room artificers are not customarily required to undertake duties such as patrols except in case of necessity. They are, however, required to be capable of such duties and their employment on them must be left to the discretion of the commanding officer of the ship.
§ Mr. Willis
Can my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that this will not become the general practice?
I have indicated that it does not generally so happen, but conditions vary so much from time to time that you must give the commanding officer some discretion.
§ 43. Mr. Willis
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that contrary to Art. 626 of K.R. & A.I., C.E.R.A.s are being placed in messes separate from E.R.A.s in H.M. L.S.T.s; and will he take steps to bring this practice to an end.
The design of these ships had to be settled as a matter of the highest operational urgency before the final complement had been fixed. The present arrangements which provided for one C.E.R.A. being placed in the chief petty officers' mess, were made with a view to accommodating the men as comfortably as possible. The possibility of enlarging the engine room artificers' mess is under consideration.
§ Mr. Willis
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in some of these vessels arrangements have already been made whereby chief engine room artificers can mess together, and will he look into the matter again with a view to making this the practice in them all?
§ Mr. Callaghan
If there are to be any more of these L.S.T.s built, will the First 1315 Lord have a fresh look at the question of accommodation on board, because it is very poor at the moment?
The principal purpose of a landing ship tank is to accommodate tanks, and we try to do it with as small a crew as possible.