HC Deb 28 May 1952 vol 501 c1356
40. Mr. Follick

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that an eager long-service recruit was recently turned down by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force because he could not spell conventionally such words as "secretary" and "discoveries"; and if he will see that spelling tests are not allowed to exclude worth-while candidates in future.

Mr. Digby

Spelling is only one part of a selection test designed to assess a candidate's suitability to join the Royal Navy. No candidate would be rejected solely because of his inability to spell correctly. I understand that similar conditions apply to candidates for the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Follick

While accepting that partly in good faith, may I ask whether it is not absolutely futile that a young man from a comfortable home, who is willing to enter the Navy as a recruit for long service, should be turned down because he could not spell one or two difficult words?

Mr. Digby

As I have pointed out, he was not turned down simply because he could not spell. I have seen the papers, and I do not believe that the spelling would be in conformity with the hon. Member's ideas on spelling reform.

Mr. Mikardo

is the hon. Gentleman aware that on this test neither Sir Francis Drake nor Lord Nelson would have been able to get into the Royal Navy?