§ MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that as a result of the experience gained in the war between China and Japan, and in the war between the United States and Spain, the woodwork in all men-of-war lately built and now building for the United States Government is made of non-flammable timber; whether he is also aware that the Russian Government are having men-of-war built in the United States in which all the woodwork is non-flammable; and can he say whether the wood used in vessels at present under construction for the British Government is rendered nonflammable.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The term "lately built" is indefinite. The woodwork for all men-of-war building for the United States Government will be non-flammable, armour backing and battens for electric wires excepted. Two ships are building for Russia in the United States. We have no special information on this point relative to these ships, but in all Russian ships now building orders have been given to use non-flammable wood for certain purposes. Wood not specially treated is to be still largely used. The use of nonflammable wood has been provided for in the specifications for several ships now under construction, but it has since been found to involve certain serious disadvantages, and further orders have been suspended until the best way of overcoming these difficulties has been ascertained by further experience.