§ MR. CHARLES M'ARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has considered the desirability of placing a port guardship in the Mersey; or, if that course is impracticable, of arranging for the more frequent visit of one or more of Her Majesty's ships to the port of Liverpool; and whether, having regard to the efforts made locally to arouse public 1050 interest in the Navy, and to the number of respectable lads who might volunteer for the service if the opportunity were afforded to them, it would be possible to provide some further facilities for the enlistment and training of recruits for the Royal Navy or Royal Naval Reserve.
In 1884 the port guardship was removed to Holyhead, as the Mersey was found an unsuitable anchorage on account of the strong tides and crowded state of the river and great steamer traffic; boat work was difficult, and collisions took place with passing steamers. For these reasons it is not contemplated to again place a ship in the Mersey. The "Northampton" visits Liverpool occasionally for recruiting purposes, and will most likely do so again next year. Her last visit was in 1897. With reference to the last paragraph of the hon. Gentleman's question, recruiting at Liverpool has been quite up to the mark as compared with other recruiting centres.