HC Deb 21 March 1872 vol 210 cc396-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, If he can state to the House whether the two officers and nine seamen belonging to Her Majesty's ship "Ariadne," who were recently drowned in endeavouring to save the life of a shipmate, had their cork jackets on; if there would be any objection to lay upon the Table of the House any official Communications which have passed between the Admiralty and Rear Admiral Ryder in 1871–2 on the subject of supplying Her Majesty's ships with cork mattresses; and, if the Admiralty propose to take a new action thereon?


asked, Whether the "Ariadne" was supplied with life boats?


asked, If any means were adopted on board the vessel for preventing accidents while lowering the boats—such as patent davits would furnish?


said, he must ask the hon. Gentleman opposite and his right hon. Friend behind (Mr. Bouverie), to repeat their Questions on another day, in order that he might be better prepared to answer them. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Graves), he might state that while the despatches were most eloquently explicit as to the splendid courage and devotion exhibited on the melancholy occasion referred to, they were perfectly silent as regarded the matter the hon. Gentleman mentioned in his Question, and he (Mr. Goschen) was therefore, unable to say whether the 11 unfortunate men had their jackets on or not. Cork mattresses were now being tried in the Detached Squadron and the Channel Squadron, with a view to ascertain whether they were of use for the purpose for which Admiral Ryder thought they might be tried. The experiment was still in progress. Later on he should be ready to furnish the House with all the information they might desire on the subject.