HC Deb 12 June 1890 vol 345 cc728-9
MR. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to illustrated letters in the Daily Graphic of 31st May and 3rd June, containing an account of the wanton destruction of sea birds and their eggs by a landing party from H.M.S. Sir Richard Fletcher, on the Island of Grassholme, in the Bristol Channel, on the 23rd May; whether the acts described in the letters constitute a breach of "The Wild Birds Protection Act, 1880;" and whether he will take steps to prevent the repetition of such acts by persons using Her Majesty's ships?


This subject has already been brought by the hon. Member for Pembroke to the notice of the First Lord of the Admiralty, and, perhaps, the hon. Member for Swansea will allow me, by anticipation, to reply to his question in conjunction with that of my hon. Friend. Although the account given in the newspaper is somewhat exaggerated, it is the fact that an officer of the Royal Engineers did land on Grassholme, which is an isolated rock far out at sea, and did shoot some sea birds under the mistaken idea that the Wild Birds Preservation Act did not extend to the spot. The Commander-in-Chief has expressed his disapproval of the proceeding, and His Royal Highness has given orders that will prevent its repetition.