HC Deb 10 March 1887 vol 311 cc1744-5

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true, as stated in the Press, that a Mr. Young Terry, of Chatham Dockyard, has been selling confidential tracings and designs of ships of war, and confidential information generally with regard to Naval matters; whether he will state the name of the gentleman to whom such designs and information have been traced; whether, as is customary in such cases, Mr. Terry was made to take an oath of secrecy and fidelity on receiving his appointment at Chatham Dockyard; and, if so, whether the Admiralty contemplate taking steps for his prosecution; and, whether Mr. Terry has ever occupied, in any other of Her Majesty's Dockyards, a position similar to that he recently occupied in Chatham Dockyard, and when?

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

Before the noble Lord answers the Question, I should like to ask him whether any official Regulations exist under which persons committing similar offences are liable to pecuniary or other penalties, in addition to mere dismissal; and, if the law does not provide for such punishment, whether the Government will introduce a Bill to deal with public offences of this nature, as in other countries?

MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)

May I ask if it is not true that this man was acting as temporary foreman of the Yard, and that another man was taken from another Yard and placed over him; and if it is not a fact that the Government pay large sums every day to purchase the secrets of other Powers?


Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. Member (Mr. O'Brien) can hardly be serious in putting that Question. As regards the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, I should like to have Notice of it, as it is a matter of some importance, and requires consideration. The state- ment in the remaining Question on the Paper is true. Mr. Young Terry, who was employed as draughtsman in the Chatham Dockyard, has been dismissed from Her Majesty's Service for betraying the trust reposed in him by selling information acquired by him in his official capacity. I do not think it is desirable, in the public interest, to state either the name of the person to whom the information was sold, or the objects for which it was bought. No oath of secrecy is administered in the case of draughtsmen. With the exception of three years, during which Mr. Terry was employed as assistant overseer in the manufactory of steel plates at Sheffield, he has served the whole of his time since 1871 at Chatham Dockyard.