HC Deb 21 July 1887 vol 317 cc1620-1
MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether he can inform the House the cause of the collision between the Ajax and Devastation, and the extent of damage to each vessel; if it was necessary, and in accordance with the Rules of Navigation, as reported by the Press, that the latter should cross the bows of the Ajax for the purpose of taking up her position as leader of the second line; whether the doors of the bulkheads and anchor gear of both vessels were examined before starting, and if the ships comprising the Squadron were proceeding in grand divisions; if so, at what distance apart; and, if the Fleet at the forthcoming Naval Review are to be manœuvred; if so, in what formation, and the distance at which ramming ships are to steam apart from ships in their front?


The Black Prince struck the Agincourt on Wednesday, but no damage was done. The collision between the Ajax and the Devastation was more serious. It occurred owing to the Devastation fouling the Ajax when taking up her position at the head of the line. The Report of the inquiry into the cause of the collision between the Ajax and Devastation, or the extent of their damage, has not yet been received. There is no necessity for a ship, when performing way manœuvre, to place herself within colliding distance of another. Safety to the ship is the governing principle in the performance of all evolutions. The doors of bulkheads are kept ready for closing at all times, night or day, at sea or in harbour, and the anchor gear is examined and reported upon at regular established intervals. The Squadron was in two divisions, and at the regulated distance apart, which is governed by the number of ships in the line. There is no intention of manœuvring the Fleet at the forthcoming Naval Review.