HC Deb 15 October 1952 vol 505 cc172-3
3. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty for how long it is intended to restrict naval officers from resigning from the Service.

The Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Commander Allan Noble)

The standing rule which has been in force for many years is that, subject to special consideration when compassionate grounds are advanced, no officer of the Royal Navy is allowed to retire voluntarily, or resign, if Service requirements would thereby be prejudiced. Since 1950, it has been necessary to interpret this rule strictly, although all applications on compassionate grounds are most carefully considered. I regret that I cannot at present foresee when some relaxation will become possible.

Mr. Lindsay

Can we take it that the Admiralty will not retain this restriction a day longer than is essential?

Commander Noble

Yes, I can certainly give my hon. Friend that assurance, but I think he will realise that while we are retaining many officers beyond the terms of their engagement, any concession we should make should be made to them first while others receive most careful consideration.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman watch carefully the question of naval medical officers, surgeons and other people who go in as young men who have just graduated from the medical colleges, since if they are kept in the Navy for a long time it is almost impossible for them to resume their place in civil life? They are in a quite special category.

Commander Noble

Yes, I will see that that is given careful consideration.

Captain Ryder

Will my hon. and gallant Friend bear in mind that the rigid enforcement of this restriction is bound to have a discouraging effect on people going forward for commissions, and is also bound to have an adverse effect on promotion?