HC Deb 30 June 1896 vol 42 cc396-7

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the statements, circulated in Continental newspapers, respecting the behaviour of British blue-jackets at Rome some days ago; whether he has inquired into this matter; and whether he can make a statement to the House?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMI RALTY (Mr. J. G. GOSCHEN) St. George's, Hanover square

Yes, Sir, my attention has been drawn to certain statements circulating in Continental newspapers with reference to the conduct of British bluejackets in Rome during their recent visit to that city. These statements were utterly mendacious and absurd on the face of them. [Cheers.] But I have made inquiries into the matter. The Italian Government generously placed special trains at the disposal of our sailors, and 1,000 men were conveyed from Civita Vecchia to Rome for four consecutive days. Our Ambassador at Rome has written that "nothing could have exceeded the quiet and orderly behaviour of the British sailors, who visited Romein batches of considerable numbers," and the Commander-in-chief wrote that "about 1,000 went up every day for four days, and there has not been a single absentee." If there were any cases of drunkenness they must have been quite isolated. The people of Rome were struck by the very orderly conduct of the men of the fleet. [Cheers.]

MR. J. C. FLYNN () Cork, N.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether equally mendacious statements were not made in regard to the visit of bluejackets to Cork Harbour recently?


I cannot answer that; but there were rumours to that effect.