§ SIR ALGERNON BORTHWICK (Kensington, S.)
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is the fact that H.M.S. Ruby has been on the South American Station since she was commissioned in April, 1885; whether he is aware that it was given in evidence before the Committee on Navy Estimates, by Admiral Sir A. Hood, that the period of a ship's commission abroad was three years; whether, as the Cleopatra cannot commission before December, it may be taken as certain that the 589 Ruby cannot be relieved before March, and reach England before April, 1889, after four years' absence; and what is the reason of this departure from the Rule of the Service?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
The Ruby left England for the South-East Coast of America in May, 1885, and she has remained on that station until the present time. Although, by usage, three years abroad has come to be regarded as the duration of a ship's commission, and the Admiralty endeavour to relieve ships after that period, the date of relief must be entirely governed by the exigencies of the Service. In the present instance, the return of the Ruby has been postponed for some months, owing to unexpected difficulties in the completion of the ship detailed for her relief.