HC Deb 17 March 1870 vol 200 cc74-5

said, he would bog to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that several cases of smallpox and scarlet fever have occurred on board Her Majesty's Ship "Britannia," among the Naval Cadets; and what precautions have been taken to prevent the spread of the disorders?


Sir, in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend, I have to say that it is unfortunately true that several cases both of smallpox and scarlatina, in each instance of the mildest description, have occurred on board the Britannia in Dartmouth Harbour, and the Admiralty have taken every possible precaution on the subject at the earliest stages, and I believe in the most satisfactory manner. We have belonging to the Department a small hospital or sick quarters in a very airy situation in the open part of the town. We have also taken a house described as "The Mansion House," with a landing-place sufficiently separated from all other buildings for safety from infection; a second house approached through a walled garden, near the sick quarters; and a third house also near the sick quarters, for convalescents. A fourth house for boys supposed not to have either of these diseases, but unwell, has been taken, in order to remove them out of the sick bay in the ship. We have lately received offers of other houses, Claremont House, Shipley House, and Cromwell House, belonging to Mr. Ridgway, who has placed them at our disposal in the most generous manner. These offers are under consideration. We sent to Dartmouth some days ago Dr. Mackay, the Deputy Inspector General, who has reported that all the arrangements are satisfactory as to position and suitability, and who speaks most highly of the steps taken by the captain and medical officer of the ship. The House may rely on no precautions being omitted, at whatever inconvenience and cost, to prevent the spreading of the infection. At the present moment sixty cadets are in sick quarters, none now seriously ill, there having only been from the first two giving cause for any anxiety. Seven have been taken away by their friends, and others will follow if their friends wish. In reply to the Question of which notice is given me for to-morrow, I may say that we fully considered the expediency of sending cadets to a floating hospital; but that we received unanimous advice that it would be most unwise to do so, or to remove them to the hospital at Plymouth.