§ 6. Commander Courtney
asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what is the estimated minimum re-engagement rate for naval ratings completing nine-year engagements which can be accepted in relation to the fleet manning programme after 1965.
§ Commander Courtney
Is not the present rate of re-engagement sagging rather noticeably, and does not this have a rather menacing effect on the future strength of the Navy? Observing that perhaps three-quarters of the Royal Navy is now east of Suez, is not re-engagement likely to slow down still further because of the arduous conditions of service to which the bulk of officers and men are now subjected?
§ Mr. Hay
As I said in the debate on Monday, one does not want to exaggerate this problem. The present rate of re-engagement in the Navy is high and we must continue to keep it high. To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason to expect that re-engagement will suffer to any great extent as a consequence of a large proportion of the Fleet being east of Suez.
§ Mr. Willis
Nobody would wish to exaggerate this, but in view of its undoubted importance would the hon. Gentleman state the present strength of nine-year men? The White Paper gives the figure only for twelve-year men.