HC Deb 07 March 1892 vol 2 cc151-2
MR. HANBURY (on behalf of Mr. ARTHUR O'CONNOR,) Donegal, E.

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state how many of the vessels, as well cruizers as torpedo gunboats, which have been built and equipped for the defence of the Australian Colonies under the provisions of "The Imperial Defence Act, 1888," were accepted by the Admiralty from the contractors without the trials at full steam power having been carried out; were the conditions necessary for the development of the full steam power applied to the boilers of these vessels; and were the full steam trials stipulated for in the contracts made before the Admiralty accepted the vessels?


All the vessels of the Australian Flotilla, consisting of five cruizers and two torpedo gunboats, completed their natural- draught trials at full power before being accepted by the Admiralty from the contractors, and the conditions necessary for the development of this power were applied to the boilers of the vessels. The actual natural draught power indicated during the trials in every case exceeded the specified power, and the air pressure worked out was in two cases only somewhat above the pressure allowed. As I stated in my Memorandum of last year, it was decided by the Admiralty, under the circumstances of the case, to take over the vessels without insisting upon the completion of their maximum forced-draught trials. I may add that the speed of these vessels is two knots higher than that proposed in the original Agreement with the Colonies. I desire to add that the reason why the Admiralty considered it inadvisable to press the class of vessels in question under the maximum forced draught was that it was found that such pressure was liable to damage the boilers and render them subsequently less efficient.


Does that apply to other vessels in the Navy, such, for instance, as the Devastation, the Thunderer, and the Superb?


I am informed that it does apply to the Thunderer. I think there are four vessels which are excepted from the forced-draught power. The term "forced-draught power" is, however, rather misleading.