HC Deb 16 July 1953 vol 517 cc2375-7

10.0 p.m.

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

I beg to move, That the Statement of the Estimated Income and Expenditure of Greenwich Hospital and Travers' Foundation for the year ending on 31st March, 1954, presented to this House on 9th June, be approved. I shall not attempt to keep the House for more than a few minutes in presenting these estimates because, as the House will remember, we had a full and lively debate upon them last year. I should like to remind the House once again of the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook. That school, which is maintained by the Greenwich Hospital Trust, provides a comprehensive secondary education with a naval background. It is free. There are some 650 boys who are primarily the sons of seafaring men. I am glad to report that this school is doing well in all fields.

Out of 23 candidates last year, 20 obtained the General Certificate of Education. About 41 per cent. of those leaving joined the Royal Navy through some channel or other and about one-third of them became artificer apprentices. They play ail games at the school and there are opportunities for sailing. The House will be glad to know that one of the boys, H. V. Humphreys, reached the final of the Schools National Boxing Championship last year. Those who were Admiralty guests in the "Perseus" at the Coronation Naval Review will remember that the boys' band which played there came from this school.

The House may remember that last year I said we would be grateful if more boys came forward to go to this school. I am glad to say that we are getting more, but we would like more still. In saying that, I should like to emphasise that there will never be any occasion when the classes having the highest priority for this school, such as the orphans and sons of families where the father may have been killed, will be turned away.

In conclusion, in commending these estimates to the House, may I say that it is no mere formality when the Parliamentary Secretary on this occasion thanks the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland) and the hon. Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu) for their work on the management committee of this school. They take a most lively interest and, when we had a meeting of the committee at the school the other day, I am glad to say that both of them were able to be present.

10.3 p.m.

Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)

In spite of the hour being rather late, I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has thought fit to tell us something about how the school is going. Those of us who have worked on the management Board from time to time have always had a great affection for the school and like to hear of its progress. It is a remarkable thing that speeches should be made in this House about an individual school, but it is one of the curious facts about it that we discuss individual and often obscure matters, and I think the school is glad that this is so.

The first association I had with the school was when I first went to the Admiralty. The war against Japan was still on and I thought I would have some great part to perform in helping to defeat the Japanese. I went to see the First Lord to report for duty and he said, "You will go and attend to Holbrook School." I attended to Holbrook School, I had great enjoyment in doing so, and I am glad to hear that it is prospering.

10.5 p.m.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

I am delighted to hear the remarks which have just been made, because for 20 years this subject was never discussed until I raised the matter during the war. We discovered then that the school had been grossly neglected by the Board of Admiralty. It was as a result of that brief debate that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty awoke to their responsibilities, with the result that the school is very much better now than it used to be.

Mr. Dugdale

Possibly it was the result of the arrival of a Socialist Government.

Sir H. Williams

Oh, no.

Question put, and agreed to

  1. MEMBERS' EXPENSES, &C. 57 words