§ MR. LIDDELL
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that certain ships belonging to the Channel Squadron have been detained in Milford Haven for want of coal; and, when it is expected that the necessary supplies will arrive and so enable the ships so detained to proceed?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
, said, in reply, that there had been a certain detention of ships of the Channel Squadron at Mil-ford Haven; but the statement which had appeared in The Army and Navy Gazette to the effect that their detention was due to a fault on the part of the Contract and Purchase Department of the Admiralty was totally without foundation. The decision to send these ships to Milford Haven to coal, and that they should proceed thence to Holyhead and 1991 Liverpool, was arrived at by himself on the 7th instant, and the information that coal was to be supplied there was given to the Contract and Purchase Department only on the following day. There was no particular hurry as regarded the ships; but there were reasons why the decision as to the destination of the Channel Squadron had not been come to until the last moment. After his decision had been arrived at, the order for the purchase of coal was given on the succeeding Monday; a portion of the coal was delivered on the Tuesday, and the whole of it on Thursday, making about 1,000 tons. Whatever blame there might be in the matter, it would attach to himself and not to the Contract Department. The ships were no longer at Milford Haven, but had arrived at Holy-head.