HC Deb 15 July 1897 vol 51 cc168-9

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that on the 25th June, the day before the Naval Review, a torpedo boat from H.M.S. Edinburgh, while being steered by the captain of that ship, ran into and sunk a steam launch, which was going slowly at the time; also that the torpedo boat came round another ship at full speed, was at the wrong side, and was warned by a whistle from the steam launch, and if any inquiry has been held whether at the moment of the collision the captain was paying attention to the course he was steering; and, will he explain why the Admiralty, having agreed to raise the launch, have refused to repair or refit her or to compensate the owner for the heavy loss he has sustained in consequence of the collision, amounting to between £600 and £700.


No papers have vet reached the Admiralty, but I have ascertained that a Court of inquiry was held to investigate the circumstances of the collision between the Edinburgh's second-class torpedo boat and the steam yacht Drone, The Court found that the collision was caused by the steam yacht improperly starboarding her helm and so running across the bows of the torpedo boat. The Court called attention to the fact that in this steam yacht, 34 feet in length, the crew consisted of the owner and one boy of 18, the owner working helm, engines, steam whistle, and keeping general look-out, the boy apparently sitting aft and doing nothing. The Court considered the whole blame was attributable to the owner of the Drone. This decision was communicated to the owner, who accepted it, only asking that as a matter of grace his yacht might be raised. This has been dune. A subsequent letter from the owner of the Drone, urging reasons for considering that the torpedo boat alone was the cause of the collision, was referred to the President of the Court of Inquiry, who, however, found in them no cause for altering the decision previously arrived at.

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