HC Deb 27 March 1882 vol 268 cc22-3

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, To state roughly the amount of first class accommodation on board the "Serapis," or any other of the five great troopships; if he can state roughly the percentage of non-combatants, other than medical officers or those of the pay department, who are carried in these vessels; also the percentage of officers not belonging to the regiments or troops on board who are generally carried on such vessels; if any great public or private inconvenience would be caused if the passage of one such non-combatant or unattached officer were paid by some other route, and if a Catholic chaplain were occasionally permitted to avail himself of the vacancy in accommodation thus created; and the average number of days the troopships take in performing the voyage to India, and if any considerable increase in speed has been attained since the pledge given on this subject by the late Government on the 1st August 1879?


There is accommodation for 73 officers in cabin berths in each of the Indian troopships, which is in excess of the number required to do duty with the troops. The details as to the percentage of non-combatants cannot be given without a considerable amount of labour; but it may be assumed that it would seldom be an inconvenience to afford the accommodation of a berth in a cabin to an additional chaplain if the India Office and War Office wished that a chaplain should be embarked for the voyage. The voyage is short, being only 28 days—that is, three days less than in 1879. The voyage was accelerated in 1880.