§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what is the 1048 present number of the Royal Fleet Reserve, as compared with that expected in the Estimate explained in 1902; and whether the Government have in view the Report of the Grey Committee that the minimum rather than the total number of Reserve that must be provided would be 50 per cent. of the number of men required to mobilise the Fleet and harbour establishments.
(Answered by Mr. Pretyman.) The present number of the Royal Fleet Reserve, Class B, is 5,754, or an increase of 2,865 in about two years, the number borne in November, 1902, having been 2,889. The estimates of Sir Edward Grey's Committee were based on the probable war Fleet of 1906–7, and though only half the period comprised in their calculations has elapsed, the result has shown the general correctness of their expectations as regards the growth of this Reserve. The total number of active service and Reserve ratings provided in the Estimates for 1905–6 will give a margin of more than 50 per cent. after the Fleet and harbour establishments have been mobilised, and the Admiralty consider that the provision is for the present sufficient.