HC Deb 22 January 1947 vol 432 c209
36 and 37. Mr. Cobb

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1) how many of the 57 officers promoted to the rank of captain and commander, respectively, as announced in the half-yearly list of 1st January, commenced their service careers in the ranks;

(2) how many of the six captains who were promoted to rear-admiral on 8th January, 1947, commenced their career in the ranks.

Mr. Dugdale

Six captains in the Executive Branch have recently been promoted to rear-admiral, 18 commanders to captain, and 35 lieutenant-commanders to commander. One of the captains promoted to rear-admiral, and four of the officers promoted to commander, began their naval careers on the lower deck.

Mr. Cobb

In view of the small number promoted in this way, will my hon. Friend bear in mind that in the more ancient Merchant Navy, since the days of Canute, the most excellent practice of promoting men serving before the mast has been followed? Will he consider introducing this desirable practice to a greater extent?

Mr. Dugdale

I think my hon. Friend will be interested to know that my right hon. Friend the First Lord is giving his personal consideration to the question of promotions from the lower deck.

Sir R. Ross

Have not British naval officers had for many hundreds of years throughout the world the unrivalled reputation of being the best in the world?

Mr. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. But that does not mean that we should not secure equally good ones from the lower deck.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is it not a fact that promotions of officers up to the rank of captain is a matter of selection, and not a question of whether they come from the lower deck?

Mr. Dugdale

Certainly, it is a matter of selection.