THE COST OF TRAINING BOYS FOR THE ROYAL NAVY IN 1926

 

HMS Ganges, or rather Shotley Barracks, lasted from 1905 until closure in 1976. In its earlier times it was first opened as His Majesty's Training Establishment Shotley, changed to Royal Naval Training Establishment Shotley and finally to HMS Ganges. Whatever its name, as an enclosed area it was extant for 71 years, 65 of those for the training of boys [later juniors] and 6 for the training of Hostilities Only ratings during WW2 from 1940 until 1945. Taken as a percentage, for approximately 75% of its time spent training boys [47 years], the boys became seamen and communicators only [1905 to 1939 and 1946 to 1958] {EXECUTIVE BOYS'} and approximately, for the last 25% only [1959-1976 - 18 years], it trained all comers from many branches. From the re-start of training boys in 1946, seamen boys trained for twelve months before joining the Fleet, and communicator boys trained for fifteen months. Note the mention of stokers in the question and answer below. As a matter of general interest, the barrack blocks of all three depots {RNB's} [Devonport, Portsmouth and Chatham] for stokers were all purposefully built as the largest of all blocks. Stokers marched down to the training ships on a daily basis for steam training with either coal or thick oil [FFO] and a good glimpse of this can be gained by reading this file http://www.godfreydykes.info/THE_WORD_KILROY_QUESTION_MARK.html It is a relative small page, but in any event it is of great interest for sailors everywhere [that is why it is here on my site] and gives one a good understanding as to why it is stated above that stokers training in naval barracks. We had more stokers in the navy than in any other branch and the mind boggles when we see that a Jutland battlecruiser, one of Beatty's so-called bloody ships HMS Queen Mary was sunk and lost all 30, yes, repeat all 30 of her chief stokers just for starter. Why not look at the naval deaths for HMS Queen Mary for May 31st 1916 - it's a real shocker, quite the things nightmares are started with http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1916-05May-Jutland1.htm - scroll down!

  

In 1926, the average cost of training boys for the Fleet was discussed in the House of Commons.  What follows is an extract from Hansards. 

14 July 1926 vol 198  House of Commons debate

Mr HORE-BELISHA [MP for Plymouth Devonport, who was the Secretary of State for War 1937 - 1940 and in the early 1950's was elevated to the Peerage]

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the average cost of training men and boys of the seamen, signalmen, telegraphist and stoker branches from the time of joining the Royal Navy until they are accepted as efficient ratings from the naval point of view?

Mr. DAVIDSON  - This is a little picture drawn to show you how Mr Davidson, The First Lord of the Admiralty, fitted into the overall plan of the Navy.  Of course, this was in the days when we had a Navy of size which was still extant [5 Sea Lords] until well into the late 1960's early 1970's.  

                                                

The average cost of training boys until they are fit to be drafted to His Majesty's ships at sea based on the cost of the Shotley training establishment is £58 for the seaman class and £98 for the signal and telegraphist classes, exclusive of the pay, clothing and victualling of the boys. The training is continued after the boys join the ships, but the boys are available as part of the complement and to make a satisfactory division between the additional cost due to the training and the ordinary running expenses of the ships would be practically impossible. The training of recruits for the stoker branch is carried out at Royal Naval barracks, and it is not possible to ascertain the proportion of the cost of those establishments attributable to training this particular class except at an expenditure of  time and labour, altogether disproportionate to the value of the results obtainable.

This website https://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/ppoweruk/ tells us all about the British Pound [GBP] and its purchasing power from the year 1264 until 2007.  It has an interactive calculator on which we can do some interesting sums. It gives the answer in two forms, and I have chosen to accept the Retail Price Index [RPI] answers.

If you were a boy seaman, a boy signalman or a boy telegraphist you might find this of interest. It is not accurate but it will give you some idea.

Proceed as follows.

After opening the web page above, under CALCULATORS, click on the line "Purchasing power of the British Pound 1264-2007".

Click on CLEAR.

Using only the left hand box date-range [1264-1970] INITIAL YEAR - you wont need the 1971-2007 box at all - type in the year 1926.

Type into the three money boxes 58, 0 and 0 respectively for SEAMEN, and for COMMUNICATORS 98, 0 and 0.

In the DESIRED YEAR box, type in the year you LEFT Ganges, and then click on CALCULATE. Take the RPI answer.

THEN........ take that figure from this first calculation and RE-ENTER the calculator, remembering to click on CLEAR before you start again. Depending upon which year you left Ganges, enter the first RPI figure into either the 1264-1970 INITIAL YEAR box or the 1971-2007 INITIAL YEAR box ignoring all but the pounds if you chose the 1971-2007 box. Then add 2007 into the desired year box and the new RPI is the cost of your training at 2007 prices. 

Enjoy !