HC Deb 28 January 1897 vol 45 cc665-6

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can state how-many accidents to boats of Her Majesty's ships of war attended by loss of life took place during the year 1890, and how many lives were lost in all by these accidents; and whether he can also state if inquiry was held in each case to ascertain the cause of the accident, and can inform the House what the cause was in each case?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square

There were three accidents to boats of Her Majesty's ships attended with loss of life in 1896. An inquiry was held in each case. I cannot within the limits of an answer across the floor of the House give the history of each case. Two were under oars and one under sail in a regatta. I would remind the hon. Member that there are 300 ships in commission, not to speak of those commissioned for the manœuvres, involving an enormous amount of boat work under all conditions of weather, and that the officers and men of the fleet cannot but resent the prominence given to these very rare accidents without any reference to the magnitude of the services safely performed.