MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether, since the sinking by ramming of Her Majesty's ship Victoria by Her Majesty's ship Camperdown, the Admiralty have received reports of narrow escapes of Her Majesty's ships from being rammed by others of Her Majesty's ships, in consequence of slight accidents to machinery during manœuvres in close order, and, if not, whether they have reason to believe that such narrow escapes do take place; and (2) whether, in view of danger of ships being sunk or injured by the rams of their consorts, as in the case of the Victoria risk of loss both to the rammer and the rammed, and in view also of the increased range and efficiency attained in gun-fire, causing an increased probability of Naval actions being fought at considerable distances between the contending ships, the Admiralty will take into reconsideration the desirability of continuing to fit Her Majesty's ships with rams projecting 20 feet below water, and so fitted as to be incapable of resisting any great twisting strain?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMI-RALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The Admiralty have received no reports of narrow escapes of Her Majesty's ships from being rammed by others of Her Majesty's ships, in consequence of slight accidents to machinery during manœuvres in close order. As to the second Question the hon. Member is in error. None of Her Majesty's ships have "rams 20 feet below the water," and therefore the remainder of his question falls to the ground.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
asked if the right hon. Gentleman had any reason to believe that there had been any narrow escapes?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY
said he had no reason to believe there had been any narrow escapes as suggested in the question.