|Engineers of the Royal Navy |
In the early part of the present year, when the Terrible and Retribution, first-class steam-frigates, of 800 horse power each, were commissioned, and engineers appointed to them, it was suggested that the first-class engineers of these vessels should be made commissioned officers, to enable them to fulfil their arduous duties, by having access at all times to the commanders of the vessels, without applying through another officer. The suggestion has been favourably received at the Admiralty ; and after examining Mr. Baker, chief engineer of the Victoria and Albert steam-yacht, Mr. Brown, chief engineer of the Bee steamer, for the use of the students of the Excellent, gunnery ship at Portsmouth, and one or two others, it is contemplated to appoint three or six of the most eligible of the chief engineers to be ward-room officers ; one to be on board the admiral's vessel, whether a war steamer or ship of war, to receive orders direct from the highest authority in the fleet, and communicate them to the chief engineers in the other steamers of the squadron or vessels in port.
This arrangement, if carried into effect, will give great satisfaction, and retain in her Majesty's service engineers of superior ability, notwithstanding the temptations held out to them to enter the service of other Governments. It is also contemplated to raise the pay of first-class engineers from £16 to £18 per month, as further encouragement in the performance of their responsible duties. This addition will be a great acquisition to them, although less than that offered by other Governments. The Monarch and the Neptune steam-vessels, formerly belonging to the General Steam Navigation Company, have been purchased by the Spanish Government, and are at present fitting by Messrs. Seward and Co. as war steamers. The chief engineer have been offered £24 per month ; the engineers £20 per month ; the third engineers £16 per month ; and the stokers £8 per month, with everything found them on joining these vessels. [If they were ever lucky enough to receive it ! Trying to get paid by the Spanish government around this period was reportedly like trying to extract hen's teeth ! Ed.]
There is some difficulty to obtaining competent officers, even with these tempting offers, as the most efficient prefer serving in her Majesty's navy to that of any other power, and look forward to a fair reward for their services, and promotion to a rank they justly deserve, owing to the education and knowledge requisite to fulfil the duties of chief engineers in first-class war steamers.
SG & SGTL ; Vol 4 ; Page 112.
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