HC Deb 05 April 1965 vol 710 cc25-6
30. Dame Joan Vickers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the fact that recruiting for the Sea Cadet Corps has dropped, he will consider giving further opportunities for cadets to go to sea in ships of the Royal Navy.

Mr. Mayhew

Yes, Sir. Four hundred cadets in groups of 20 will be accommodated for periods of between 1 and 3 days in H.M.S. "Puma" during her series of visits to United Kingdom ports during the next six months; more will be taken for half-day trips. Some 400 places will be available at Sea Days demonstrations by Home Fleet ships off Portsmouth this summer. There will also be opportunities for cadets to go to sea for short periods in ships of the Home Fleet Squadron during their programme of visits in July and August.

Dame Joan Vickers

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply which, I am sure, will improve recruiting. As some of these boys may be potential sailors, would he consider two years' voluntary service for them, on the lines of Voluntary Service Overseas, so that some of these sea cadets could see whether they liked the idea of joining the Navy?

Mr. Mayhew

I agree with the hon. Lady about the importance to recruiting of this work. I will certainly look at her scheme.

Commander Courtney

In view of the shortage of naval aircraft, will the hon. Gentleman consider following the excellent example of the Royal Air Force and giving some of these sea cadets experience in gliders?

Mr. Mayhew

I am prepared to look at that.