HC Deb 09 July 1883 vol 281 cc786-7

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If he could explain to the House the nature of the evolutions in which Admiral Lord John Hay is engaged in exercising the officers and men on board the Mediterranean Squadron now under his command; if any special instructions in the practical working of floating and submarine torpedoes, also in the use of machine guns; how many of these are on board each vessel, and are they of the same calibre as those now in use in the French Navy; if he will, as early as possible, place upon the Table of the House Copies of all Despatches which may from time to time be received from Admiral Lord John Hay relative to the tactics in which he is educating the officers and men under his command; and, if he will furnish similar Despatches when received from the Admiral commanding the Reserve Squadron?


Sir, the cruise of the Mediterranean Squadron, which will occupy some months, is undertaken for the purpose of exercising the squadron in steam tactics, and in fleet evolutions of every description, both under steam and under sail. Exercise in the use of torpedoes and machine guns will form part of the instruction given in the course of the cruise. I cannot give the hon. Member any authoritative information regarding the torpedoes and machine guns in the French Navy; but I believe that the latter are of larger calibre than ours, but much less rapid in their fire. The periodical Reports received from Admiral Lord John Hay, and the Report which will be made by the Admiral commanding the Reserve Squadron, are confidential, and such documents are not usually made public.