MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been given to the foundering in November last of a boat of H.M.S. Edgar, whereby 48 lives were lost; whether he can state what class of boat it was and of what length, and how many men that particular kind of boat will carry; how many men, including officers, were actually sent away in the boat, and what guns and ammunition, if any; who was responsible for seeing that the boat was not sent away from the ship over-laden; and, whether there has been any Inquiry held into the matter; and, if so, with what result?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
My attention has been directed to the lamentable loss of life on the occasion of the foundering of the Edgar's boat in November last. The boat in question was a 36-ft. pinnace. The number of men she will carry varies with the weather and the accoutrements and stores carried. A landing party of 71 men, including a lieutenant, sub-lieutenant, and three midshipmen, armed with rifles, were in the boat. A Court of Inquiry has been held. The boat was considered by the Court to have been overladen for the service on which she was employed, and also to have been unskilfully managed when the men re-embarked for return to the ship. The Papers have not yet been officially before myself.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked if the right hon. Gentleman could say who was responsible for the overloading of the boat, and whether it was a fact that she was in charge, not of a naval naval lieutenant, but of a gunnery naval lieutenant?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said that with regard to the apportionment of the blame he had not been able to inquire of the First Naval Lord, who was indisposed, and on such a delicate matter he would not like to say a word until he had made personal investigation. ["Hear, hear!"]