HC Deb 16 February 1875 vol 222 cc393-4

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that the Board of Admiralty have ordered the observance of a religious ceremony, comprising the reading of a prayer, at the launches of Her Majesty's ships; and, if so, whether, in those cases in which the launches take place in tidal rivers and harbours with strong currents, the dockyard officers and private contractors have been, or are to be, relieved from all responsibility for any accidents or disasters that may arise from the suspension during the ceremony of the important and often critical mechanical operations involved in the launching of heavy ships?


In reply to the hon. Gentleman, I have to say that a service recommended by the Archbishop of Canterbury has been ordered by the Admiralty to be used at the launching of Her Majesty's Ships. Before the issuing of such order this country was, if I am rightly informed, the only one in Europe in which no religious ceremony was used on such occasions. I believe that the in- troduction of this service will commend itself to the feelings of the people of this country. The reading of the service, which is a very short one, will be so timed as in no way to interfere with the launching of the ships.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered his Question, as to whether the officers and contractors who thought differently would be relieved from responsibility?


I thought that was implied in my Answer that the service would be so timed as not to interfere with the launching of the ships. The consequence is, that the liabilities and responsibilities of those persons will not be increased.

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