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diligence and conduct, gives the final average of the student. The mark for conduct has a low relative weight. The following table explains the system of marking and gives the coefficients in each branch:
The order of seniority of the graduating class is fixed by the final classification, according to the system described; and in this order the engineer students are promoted to the grade of assistant engineer of the third class, as vacancies occur. The student who graduates from the school at the head of his class is sent, as a reward, to England, on a tour of scientific study and inspection. On his return he presents a report of his observations to the director of the school.
It will be observed that no provision is made in the course of constructing engineers for a cruise on board a ship of war. By the old regulations of 1855 constructing engineers were obliged to perform a certain amount of sea-service in the lowest grade before promotion; and they were also sent to sea in flag-ships in the higher grades. This regulation was abolished in 1876, as it was found that it removed engineers for too long a time from the duties of their profession on shore, without any proportionate advantage. The Minister of Marine still retains the power to send engineers to sea at his discretion; but, as in England, it is only done to a very limited extent and for short periods.
At Cherbourg, as at Greenwich, provision is made for the reception of construction students from civil life, either Frenchmen or foreigners, under the name of free pupils (élèves libres). The free pupils are required to obtain permission to attend from the Ministry of Marine and pass an examination for admission; and they receive instruction in the following courses:
Strength of materials.
Regulation of the compass.
Every facility is given to the free pupils, except that the plans and documents in the school archives are not open to their inspection, without special authorization. They receive a diploma at graduation, stating the character and duration of their course of study, and the degree of capacity they have shown.
Officers on duty at Cherbourg are also allowed to attend the lectures at the school, upon receiving permission from the Préfet.
THE TORPEDO SCHOOL (Ecole des défenses sous-marines).
The establishment at Boyardville has two objects, the training of officers and men for the torpedo-service, and the performance of experiments for the development and perfection of the materials of this branch of maritime warfare. The two functions are largely performed by the same officers. At the head of the institution, but still under the orders of the Préfet Maritime of the district, is a captain, who has general direction, and who also gives such courses of lectures as he sees fit. Under him is a commander, as senior executive aid, another commander in charge of the courses of superior officers, and a number of lieutenants, whose duties of instruction are divided between the junior officers and the instructing warrant and petty officers. The general principle prevails of making instructors of various degrees at the same time students of higher courses than they teach. Thus the lieutenants give lectures to the instructing warrant and petty officers, while the latter teach the men, under the supervision of the lieutenants, or of ensigns pursuing the officers' course. In general, instructors of all grades are selected from those who have been students, very often immediately after they have received their certificates; and in recognition of their special qualifications, they all receive extra pay while performing this duty.
Apart from the commissioned officers, the instructing force consists of two first masters (warrant officers), one belonging to the corps of gun. ners, the other to that of helmsmen. The latter has charge of the instruction of men in physics and in telegraphy, having an expert as assistant in the latter branch. Besides these, there are several warrant and petty officers, of the corps of gunners, helmsmen, and machinists, according to the number of pupils; but at least half of these must always be of the gunnery branch. The workshop is in charge of a principal mechanician or first master machinist.
The board of instruction (conseil d'instruction) is composed of the captain as president, the two commanders, the lieutenant in charge of the officers' course, and one of the lieutenants in charge of the course for men. It prepares programmes of study, and revises the official manual of torpedoes. The course of study is both theoretical and practical. Marks are given by the captain for the work performed by the officer students. This work consists of notes of lectures, practical experiments, and the preparation of essays or discussions on subjects relating to torpedoes. An officer unconnected with the school, either an admiral or captain, is detailed to conduct the examination at the close
S. Ex. 51--10
of the course, on the passing of which depends the certificate necessary for a torpedo officer.
The course for superior officers (captains and commanders) lasts five months, beginning May 1 and November 1; that for lieutenants and ensigns is six months, beginning April 1 and October 1. Torpedo officers (officiers torpilleurs) stationed regularly at the seaports are sent once every three years for the five months' course. The course for warrant officers, petty officers, and men lasts six months, beginning January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1, so that there are always at the school a division in the first half, and another in the second half of the course. The pupils in this course are selected by a board of officers appointed for the purpose at each port. The candidates must be men of good record as to conduct, and of a certain intelligence and aptitude; and they must belong to one of the three corps of gunners, helmsmen, and machinists, or to the seamanship branch (manœuvre). They are examined upon their arrival at the school, and sent back if found disqualified. At the end of the course they pass an examination, and receive certificates of their fitness for torpedo duty. The best men are promoted at the end of each course, the choice being determined by a board of officers (conseil d'avancement) at the school.
The practical researches and experiments with the torpedo are conducted by a board known as the Commission permanente d'expériences. It consists of the members of the board of instruction, with the addition of an assistant engineer (constructor), and a captain of marine artillery. The lieutenants in charge of the course of instructing warrant and petty officers are admitted with a consulting voice only. All officers pursuing courses at the school have the advantage of being able to attend discussions and witness experiments of the permanent commission.
A late decree (March 14, 1878) fixes the course for machinists in Whitehead torpedoes at four months, beginning January 1, May 1, and September 1, of each year. Still another decree (April 4, 1878) has added to the list of pupils in each course an assistant constructing engineer and a variable number of foremen and other officers of dock. yard works (maistrance des arsenaux). The reason for this lies in the fact that the direction of naval constructions at the dock-yards is charged with the safe-keeping and delivery of torpedo materials; and it is therefore highly important that there should be officers connected with the corps of constructors who understand their properties.
THE SCHOOL OF MACHINISTS (Ecole théorique et pratique des mécan
The school of machinists is situated at Toulon. It was established by the decree of February 13, 1879, and took the place of the two schools that formerly existed for a similar purpose at Brest and at Toulon.
The superior officers at the head of the school are a captain and commander. The instructors are composed of (1) professors of hydrography, for the scientific courses; (2) principal mechanicians and first master machinist, for the technical courses; and (3) a first master machinist, to direct the workshop instruction. The first are selected by the Minister of Marine, and the last by the commandant of the school. A novel feature is introduced in the appointment of the other class, in the requirement of an examination for the position of instructor. Examinations of applicants are held yearly at Toulon, by the permanent commission for the examination of machinists. Lists are kept of those who pass, and from these lists the instructors are selected. The subjects of the examination include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, elementary descriptive geometry, physics, mechanics, and the steam-engine. The instructors, or professors as they are called, are assisted by master or second master machinists in the capacity of répétiteurs.
The pupils at the school consist of firemen artificers (ourriers chauffeurs), candidates for promotion to quartermaster machinists; of quartermasters and machinist pupils (élèves mécaniciens), candidates for second masters; and of second masters, candidates for first masters. The course for the firemen artificers is six months; for all the other classes one year. Competitive examinations for promotion are held at the end of each course. There are two "commencements" or dates of entry in each year, on May 1 and November 1. By this arrangement two classes in each category of candidates (except the six months' pupils) are always together at the school; one class in the first half, the other in the last half of the course.
Admission to the school is only obtained after passing a double examination: first, at the shore station or on board the ship where the candidate is employed for the time being, and, secondly, at the school itself. Twice a year the five Préfets Maritimes, and the commanders-inchief of the various squadrons, send to the Ministry lists of the names of machinists of all grades whom they propose for admission to the school. The lists are drawn up after an examination of candidates in the arrondissement or squadron, conducted by a board composed of a line officer, a constructing engineer, and a principal mechanician. A