HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2263-4W

asked the First Lord of Admiralty whether he is aware that at Woodstock, in the neighbourhood of Cape Town, there are about 100 young men being trained as naval cadets, and that their training is subsidised to the extent of £200 per annum by the Government of the Union of South Africa; if so, whether he will consider the desirability of making arrangements through the officer commanding the Cape station to receive applications from such of these cadets as may desire to enter the Royal Navy; whether the examination in this case as to physical fitness and other qualifications could be held at Cape Town; and whether such cadets as may come up to the required standard may be selected as seamen and drafted from the Cape station as if joining the Royal Navy at that place?


The suggestion of the hon. Member will receive careful attention, and I am having a report called for from the Commander-in-Chief on the Cape station as to the qualifications of these young men. The entry of seamen for continuous service is at present confined to those who have passed through the harbour training establishments at home as boys. The Commander-in-Chief on the station has power to enter ten boys a year when a Government opportunity occurs for sending them home, and his attention was drawn last year to the Woodstock naval cadets with a view hon. entering boys as occasion offers. As the hon. Member is aware, Government opportunities occur at rare intervals, and I fear that the cost of sending boys home by freight is prohibitive.