W.R.N.S. (Disciplinary Offences)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 March 1945.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South 12:00, 28 March 1945

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many W.R.N.S. have been tried by courts-martial for offences; and in how many cases did these offences involve desertion.

Mr. Alexander:

Members of the W.R.N.S. are not subject to the Naval Discipline Act and disciplinary offences committed by them are not tried by court martial. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the other day the Lord Chancellor published an order under some Act of Parliament in which he declared that W.R.N.S. were members of the Armed Forces of the Crown, and what is the significance of that order?

Mr. Alexander:

I have not been given notice of that question but the answer to my hon Friend's original Question is as I have stated. I am not sure what is the object of my hon. Friend but I must say that the behaviour and conduct of the members of the Women's Royal Naval Service fully justify their present position.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult with the Lord Chancellor on the significance of this recent order?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that as a member of the W.R.N.S. does not come under the Naval Discipline Act, her estate on her decease has to pay Death Duty?

Mr. Alexander:

There is a point on that which, I understand, has been raised with the Chancellor but any amending legislation which would be required to deal with that would have to come from the Treasury.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Are not the members of the Women's Royal Naval Service in rather a different category from the women members of the Army and Air Force, and therefore deprived of certain privileges common to the others?

Mr. Alexander:

I do not know of any really substantial privilege which is thereby denied.