§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the number of boys sleeping on board H.M.S. Impregnable every night is upwards of 1,600; whether the average number of the watch below when the ship was in commission was less than 600; whether in the winter months the ventilation of the ship is interfered with by a tarpaulin awning over the deck; and whether any Reports have been received by the Admiralty as to cases of sickness or death 1610 on the ship attributed by the medical officers to overcrowding?
THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Sir U. KAY-SHUTTLE-WORTH, Lancashire, Clitheroe)
There is sleeping accommodation on board H.M.S. Impregnable for 1,514 boys, and this number is never exceeded. The average number sleeping on board during the winter months is 1,350. The Impregnable (late Balwark) is a 121-gun ship, and would have had a complement of 1,110 to 1,130 men if commissioned for service. Though a considerable portion of her crew would have been on deck when the ship was at sea, practically the whole of the men would have been below at night in harbour. When fitted as a training ship, she was completely gutted—all guns, stores, and magazines being removed, as well as the machinery and boilers. This largely increased the accommodation. There is no tarpaulin over the deck. The arrangements for ventilation are not interfered with by the awning. No Reports have been received by the Admiralty from the medical officer as to cases of sickness or death in the ship attributable to overcrowding.