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Entry of Apprentices in Her Majesty's Dockyards


Circular No. 33.-D.
(With Subsequent Modifications.)
Admiralty, 5th May 1873.

(Under revision.)

With reference to Circular No. 8, C, of the 30th January last, sanctioning Regulations for the Royal Naval College at Greenwich my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are pleased to direct that the following Regulations for the entry of Apprentices in Her Majesty's Dockyards shall be substituted for those now in force :

  1. Vacancies for appointments as Apprentices in Her Majesty's Dockyards at Chatham, Sheerness, Portsmouth, Devonport, and Pembroke are open to public competition.
  2. The lists of Candidates for these situations are kept by the Superintendents of the Dockyards named in paragraph 2, to whom all applications must be sent in before the 1st of May in each year.
  3. Candidates must not be under the age of 14 years, nor above the age of 15 years on the first day of the Examination. Proof of age will be required by the production of a Certificate of Birth, an Extract from Baptismal Register, or by Declaration before a Magistrate. Evidence of respectability and good character must also be produced on a form which will be furnished by the Civil Service Commissioners or by the Superintendents of the several Dockyards.
  4. Candidates will not be admitted for examination at the Dockyards until they have been pronounced fit for Her Majesty's Service by the Medical Officers of the yard. Candidates in or near London may be examined by the Medical Director-General of the Navy at the Admiralty. Candidates should possess the following physical qualifications at the minimum age :


  5. Height 4 ft. 8 in.
    Weight 90 lbs.
    Girth of Chest 26 ins.

    but a deficiency in these requisites will not exclude candidates who may be pronounced by the Medical Officers to be generally calculated to make efficient workmen. All candidates must produce certificates to the satisfaction of the examining Medical Officers that they have been revaccinated, or they will be revaccinated before they can be considered eligible for examination.

  6. The examination will commence on the first Tuesday in June of each year, and will be held by the Civil Service Commissioners in London as well as at the several Dockyards.
  7. The following will be the subjects of examination, and the maximum number of Marks for each subject:-


  8. Arithmetic 350
    Orthography 100
    Handwriting 100
    Grammar 100
    English Composition 100
    Geography 100
    Euclid First Three Books 150
    Algebra, including Quadratic Equations 150
    Total 1150

  9. Candidates will be subjected to a preliminary examination in the first four subjects, and should they fail in any of the four they will be at once rejected. Those who pass the preliminary examination will then undergo a competitive examination, and the candidates who display a competent knowledge of all the above subjects will be eligible for appointment in the various Trades according to their position on the Examination Lists at the several Dockyards.
  10. Apprentices will be bound by Indenture to serve for seven years, and no candidate will be entered unless, some relative or friend is able and willing to undertake the duty of the second party to the Indenture as to the support, &c., of the Apprentice during his apprenticeship. Board wages will only be allowed in the case of boys whose fathers have died or been killed in the service, and when it can be proved the family are in distressed circumstances, or in other very special cases.
  11. On the expiration of their period of service Apprentices will receive a certificate of their character and conduct, the progress they have made in their trade and in the knowledge of the subjects prescribed for Dockyard. Apprentices.
  12. The Pay of Apprentices serving in the Dockyard is as follows :


  13.   s. d.  
    First year 3 0 a week
    Second year 5 0 a week
    Third year 7 0 a week
    Fourth year 9 0 a week
    Fifth year 11 0 a week
    Sixth year 13 0 a week
    Seventh year 15 0 a week

  14. Three from among those who have passed five years at the Dockyards will be selected annually by competitive examination for study at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. They will remain there three terms, passing the vacation each year between the 30th June and the 1st October at one of the Dockyards.
  15. Those selected for study at Greenwich must join with their parents or guardians in a bond for the sum of 250 to serve under the Admiralty for seven years it required after the completion of their Apprenticeship.
  16. While at Greenwich, Dockyard Apprentices will be lodged and will receive 1s. 6d. a day towards the mess. They will mess with the Acting 2nd Class Assistant Engineers and Engineer Students.
  17. They will receive pay as follows:

      s. d.  
    Those in their first year at Greenwich 21 0 a week
    Second and third years 22 6 a week

    When at their own Dockyards during the vacation, they will receive their pay as above, but not the messing allowance. When at other Dockyards, the messing allowance will be granted.

  18. If found well qualified at the completion of their course at Greenwich, they may be sent to sea in one of Her Majesty's Ships for one year if the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty think it desirable, and will then be appointed Assistants to the Foremen of the Dockyards, or to any other post for which they may be considered fit. In cases where their Lordships do not, consider it desirable to send them to sea, they will be at once pointed to situations as above at the several Dockyards.
  19. N.B. The above Regulations will be generally followed, but their Lordships reserve to themselves the right to modify them from time to time as they may consider desirable.
  20. The Regulations contained in Art. 91, page 264 of the Appendix to the Addenda to the Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions and the Printed Regulations on this subject issued to the Dockyards, dated the 1st August, 1867, are hereby cancelled.

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