The future size, organisation and functions of the Royal Naval Reserve are still under consideration in conjunction with other interested Departments. Pending decisions, there is no enrolment of Merchant Navy officers but the names of volunteers are being noted so that action can be taken as soon as this is possible.
Arising out of that, is it not very important to build up the Royal Naval Reserve without delay, and may I ask when the Admiralty will reach a decision on this point?
I quite agree, and my noble Friend entirely agrees as to the importance of setting up the Royal Naval Reserve as soon as possible, but consultations are necessary between a number of Departments. These consultations are taking place, and I hope they will be finished as rapidly as possible.
Is the Minister aware of the invaluable service given by this corps of very experienced professional seamen, whose skill is only equalled by their gallantry; and is he aware that this postponement is rather discouraging to those officers in the Merchant Service who wish to be associated with the Royal Navy?