§ MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has considered the finding of the Court of Inquiry appointed to examine into the cause of the burning of the fire-bars of the Sharpshooter, namely, "that it arose from the inexperience of the stokers"; and whether there was any evidence to show that the accident was due in some measure to the use of sulphurous coal; and whether it is true that another vessel belonging to the manœuvring squadrons, the Spanker, has had to return to port through the weakness of one of the boilers and defective machinery, and that, in consequence of these defects, will be unable to rejoin the division this season?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
There was no evidence to show that the burning of the fire-bars of the Sharpshooter was in any way due to the use of sulphurous coal. Welsh coal alone was used. In the case of the Spanker, the accident to the boiler was entirely due to the shortness of water, and not to weakness of construction, while the defect of the machinery was caused by the breakdown of one of the slide valves of the port low-pressure engine, an unaccountable accident in the opinion of the Court of Inquiry, and one in which no blame attached to anyone. The Spanker, after undergoing the necessary repairs, sailed to rejoin the Fleet on the 25th inst.