DEDICATED Royal Navy sailors are working longer hours than any other wing of Britain’s military, a study has revealed.
Sailors spend more time on duty and on call than any of their counterparts in the army or RAF.
More than 3,500 active service personnel filled in the continuous working patterns survey.
This year’s result has seen a surge in the amount of time sailors spent on call compared to 2016/17 – although they spent fractionally less time at work.
On average, naval service personnel have spent 77.2 hours on duty, compared to 63 hours in the army and 59.4 in the RAF.
The news comes after a busy year for the Royal Navy, which has seen the service called on numerous occasions to shadow Russian warships in British waters.
The Ministry of Defence insisted the figures in its survey could not be attributed to this and that sailors traditionally spent more time on duty due to frequent deployments at sea.
However, the situation has prompted fresh calls to the government from a former head of the navy, who is demanding more effort is put into bolstering manpower in the Senior Service.
Labour peer Lord Alan West said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ by the results, saying savage cuts to the navy almost a decade ago are still being felt by current personnel in the Senior Service.
He said: ‘They cut 4,000 from our numbers in (the Strategic Defence and Security Review) 2010. They added back 400 in SDSR 2015 but that’s not enough.
‘We have got too few people they’re all having to work harder and have less time in the UK back after deployments There needs to be an uplift.’
The study also showed that soldiers on average spent the most time on breaks per week notching up 7.1 hours, with sailors on break for six hours and RAF personnel on break for 4.8 hours.
However, the RAF spent most time off duty per week with 108.6 hours compared to 90.7 hours in the navy and 104.9 in the army.
A spokeswoman for the MoD said: ‘The naval service carries out a unique maritime role which requires it to generate and operate its forces differently from other services.’