HL Deb 09 May 1961 vol 231 cc220-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they can state how many officers and other ranks of the Navy, Army and Air Force cannot swim and their percentages and totals both as a whole and under each head and how many are considered to be incapacitated on medical grounds; whether there are any statistics as to deaths (a) during the 1939–1945 war and (b) since, primarily from this cause; what steps are being taken to improve the position towards swimming totalitarianism; and whether, in future, recruitment can be probationary in all cases until a minimum test has been passed.


I regret that the figures for which the noble Lord has asked are not maintained. I can, however, assure him that the Services give every encouragement to officers and men to learn to swim and instruction is provided at all training establishments where suitable facilities are available. Swimming training is compulsory in the Royal Navy for all officer cadets and for all ratings below lading rate. It is compulsory for all ranks in the Army and it will shortly be so for all Royal Air Force personnel whose duties take them over or near the sea. It would not be desirable to impose a swimming qualification on all recruits to the Armed Forces.

House adjourned at twenty-four minutes before ten o'clock.