HC Deb 26 May 1881 vol 261 cc1307-8

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether any orders have been given to the Commander in Chief in the Mediterranean within the last month or six weeks or so, for the dispersion of the vessels ordinarily composing the Mediterranean Fleet?


Sir Beauchamp Seymour, the Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, wrote on the 17th of March to ask that the large ships under his command might have a mouth's independent cruise, preparatory to the long cruise of the whole Squadron which takes place during the summer. The Board replied to this, which, I am told by those who know, is a very workmanlike proposal, by a letter which ran thus— With reference to your letter of the 17th inst., I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you that, they approve of the large ships of your squadron being detached for a month's independent cruise provided you are in telegraphic communication with them at the ports to which each ship will proceed. My Lords consider the ports of Villafranca, Barcelona, and Port Mahon are too far from Malta, and should not now be visited. The iron-clads accordingly cruised about well within call in case of need, as was proved directly the Monarch was wanted; and the Squadron has now rejoined Sir Beauchamp Seymour's flag at Malta, and is waiting orders to sail on its summer cruise.