§ MR. ATKINSON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why he denied to shipowners and merchants of Hull the same facilities with reference to naval defence of ports which he has granted 847 to Liverpool, Bristol, and ports of far less importance than Hull?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
In reply to my hon. Friend, I may say that I have been in communication on this subject with the hon. Member for East Hull, and I will inform him of the purport of our communication. The Admiralty are reluctant to increase the numbers of Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers at the present time, or until a decision has been arrived at as to how their services can be utilized in the event of war. Mobility is an essential condition for ships of the Navy, and the Admiralty have declined to localize ships to special ports. As the Act of 1873 now stands, the Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers are not liable for service away from their own ports, except in case of invasion or apprehended invasion; so that, except in this contingency, the Admiralty, under the existing Act, have no means of availing themselves of their services. The Admiralty would be glad to give encouragement to this force when they can see a way of advantageously employing them. They are ready to supply guns, ammunition, and instruction; but they cannot undertake to supply ships for local ports.