§ SIR EDWARD J. REED
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether the experiments which the Committee on Designs considered it necessary to make before determining to build citadel ships, with unarmoured ends containing cork or some other buoyant substance, have been carried out; and, if not, whether the Board of Admiralty proposes to carry out any such experiments as further recommended by the Director of Naval Construction in 1877; also, whether the Board of Admiralty has yet decided to apply additional armour to any of Her Majesty's ships of recent design for the purpose of protecting them against the fire of machine-guns?
§ SIR THOMAS BRASSEY
The Committee on Designs of 1871 recommended experiments to be made as to the effects of firing on cellular structures containing cork or some other buoyant substance, and experiments on a small scale were carried out from the Excellent. At a later period, in December, 1876, the Director of Naval Construction recommended similar experiments on a large scale, involving an expenditure of £20,000. In making that recommendation the Director of Naval Construction had in view the possibility of the entire removal of vertical armour from the water-line. As this proposal was not entertained, it was not considered desirable by the Board of Admiralty to carry out those experiments. The recommendation of the Director of Naval Construction has not been renewed since the present Board was appointed; but, in consequence of the Question of which my hon. Friend has given Notice, we have thought it was duo to him that the necessity for the experiments should be 1753 again considered. The Board have decided that it is not necessary to undertake such experiments at the present time. With regard to the second part of the Question, the Board, having considered the question of the application of additional armour to any of Her Majesty's ships of recent design for the purpose of protecting them against the fire of machine guns, have decided that the addition is not necessary.
§ SIR EDWARD J. REED
In view of the serious nature of the answer to these Questions, which involves the lives of thousands of Her Majesty's seamen and the security of the country, I beg to give Notice that on going into Committee of Supply on the Navy Estimates I will move—That, in the opinion of this House, the state of the Navy is unsatisfactory, and that its condition is largely due to recent defective administration and to the improper and extravagant expenditure of the sums voted by Parliament for its maintenance.