§ MR. PULESTON (Devonport)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether he can give any information relating to the reported accidents on some of Her Majesty's ships in the naval manœuvres; and, whether he can furnish any additional information as to the progress and result of these naval manœuvres?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
I regret to say that there have been two accidents, one on board the Curlew and the other on board the Black Prince. I have received no detailed information; but I understand that there has been an accident to a Nordenfelt gun, six men having been injured, one seriously, and that the remaining five are progressing well. Two men, I am afraid, have lost the sight of an eye. One of the Squadrons—the D Squadron—has been placed to the North of the Irish Channel; the B Squadron to the South of the Irish Channel; and the third, or A Squadron, off the French Coast. There is no news of the C Squadron; hut as regards the B Squadron, we have received a telegram that it has captured all the Squadron of the enemy and frustrated his objects. Admiral Fremantle reports that, after having taken Falmouth, he forced the entrance to the Thames at daylight and anchored off the Nore. He claims to have sunk the I torpedo-boats, while the torpedo-boats j claim to have sunk half his Squadron. Finally, he has been pursued in the Thames by Admiral Hewett's Squadron,; and I believe that the whole of his Squadron has been captured. I have not yet received the Report of the umpires.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
May I ask the noble Lord if he can give us an estimate of what will be the cost to the country of these tomfooleries?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
The cost, Sir, will not entail a Supplementary Estimate. I should say that no part of the expenditure incurred in connection with the Navy will be more useful to the men in teaching them how to perform their duty and handle their ships.
§ SIR FREDERICK MAPPIN (York, W.R., Hallamshire)
Can the noble Lord state where the guns were manufactured?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I said I one Nordenfelt. I did not say that the accidents were due to any defect in the gun; but I have no detailed information.