HC Deb 31 January 1918 vol 101 c1762W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state the number of assistant paymasters, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, now serving at the Admiralty and the number who received their commissions in 1917; whether sonic sixty assistant paymasters, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, are employed on coding and ciphering work in one Department at the Admiralty; and, seeing that the employment of women has been sanctioned for this work, whether a certain number of these men could be displaced by women?


The number of assistant paymasters, R.N.V.R., now serving at the Admiralty is eighty-three, of whom eighty-one received their commissions in 1917. Sixty-five assistant paymasters, R.N.V.R., arc engaged on coding and ciphering work, the main part of their duties consisting of the ciphering or deciphering of the secret orders and communications passing between the Admiralty and the Fleets in home and foreign waters. This work is not only of a very confidential and responsible nature, but is carried on continuously by night as well as by day under considerable strain. The women staff employed on certain sections of the work are employed by day only, and although their numbers are being gradually increased, there is, I am advised, no possibility of any great reduction in the number of men engaged on the work. As regards the Admiralty Office as a whole, my hon. Friend will he interested to hear that whilst before the War, with the exception of the cleaners, no women were employed, there are now over 3,000 women employed.