HC Deb 17 July 1856 vol 143 cc998-1000

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 and 2 were agreed to.

Clause 3.


said, that when an emergency recently occurred, and the services of the coast-guard were required for manning Her Majesty's ships, it was found that there were some 2,000 or 3,000 men employed in the coast-guard who were unfit for service afloat, and he thought the House ought to "know the reason why." It should be clearly known who were to blame for such a state of things. If the rule providing that to qualify a man for service in the coast-guard a special certificate should be required from the commander of the ship in which he had served had been adhered to, an efficient force would have been at the command of the Government. There were in the coast-guard service a number of officers who were civilians, and he should like to know what the Admiralty intended to do with them. The Bill provided for the coast-guard having the charge of the naval volunteers, an arrangement which he approved, and he trusted it would prove successful. It was matter of complaint that though the coast-guard were exceedingly useful in the protection of life and property the House should understand that was a service for which they never got promotion.


said, that with reference to the civilians mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member, they would not be subjected to the discipline imposed on the sailors of the coast-guard, but would be allowed to remain as they now were. The sailors he had spoken of as too old for the service had no doubt once been good seamen, but had been too long in the coast-guard. It was intended to pay those men off with pension, and replace them with younger men fit for any duty to which they might be called.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4.


said, he wished to inquire if the children of the men serving in the coast-guard would be eligible to the schools at Greenwich? One of the qualifications for admission as they at present stood was, that the candidate should be the child of a mariner in either the Royal Navy or in the merchant service.


said, that when the Bill passed into a law all the men employed under it would be treated as seamen of the Royal Navy, and their children would be eligible to the schools at Greenwich.


said, he would beg to ask whether the Coast Volunteers were to be kept up, or whether the coastguard was to replace them?


said, that the coast-guard were to be under the control of the Admiralty, and to be trained for service in the navy, particularly in the management of gun-boats. All coast-guard men would be entered as seamen on the Admiralty books. Some of the older coastguard men were not so entered; and no alteration would be made in respect to them.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5.


said, he thought that the power given to the Admiralty of taking five acres of land at any point within half a mile of the coast of any navigable river for the erection of barracks for the coastguard was too extensive. Under the existing Act power was given to take half an acre only.


said, he did not anticipate that there would be any material increase of coast-guard stations, or that it would be necessary to exercise the power granted by the clause. But the existing law had been found insufficient, the consequence was that great num- bers of the coast-guard were lodged in villages, where they were exposed to all sorts of temptation. What he wanted was to have power to erect stations where none existed at present.


said, that in addition to the five acres there was power given to provide foot-paths, &c.


said, he did not think that sufficient explanation of the reason for those additional powers had been given.


said, he thought that it was desirable that sufficient barrack accommodation should be provided; but he would ask the right hon. Baronet if not less than five acres would be sufficient?


said, that if the Committee would pass the clause as it stood, he should reduce the number of acres to three on the third reading.

Clause agreed to; as were also the remaining clauses.

House resumed; Bill reported, without Amendments.