HC Deb 18 June 1900 vol 84 cc285-6
SIR LEONARD LYELL (Orkney and Shetland)

I bog to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty will he explain why, although a portion of the German fleet has repeatedly visited Shetland in the course of its summer cruise, and quite recently a squadron of warships, including several large battleships, spent several days in Lerwick Harbour, where a body of our Naval Reserve men get their training, British warships of any size hardly ever visit Shetland, and are believed to purposely avoid navigating the seas there; whether he will take steps so that the Royal Naval Reserve men of Shetland shall have an opportunity of seeing a British fleet, and not derive their ideas of a Navy solely from foreign fleets; and will he order the Channel Fleet to visit † See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxiii., p. 398. ‡ See ibid., page 1257. Shetland this year in the course of its summer cruise, a visit which has been often asked for in past years.


Although Lerwick has not been visited by the Channel Squadron of late years the Training Squadron has frequently done so, the last three occasions being 1895, 1896, 1899. Kirkwall, which possesses a better and more convenient harbour, seems to have been preferred by the officers commanding the Channel Squadron during their visits to northern waters. It is possible that the Squadron, or a portion of it, may visit Lerwick when the Squadron is again in the north, but I can give no undertaking that an opportunity will occur during the present year. I may remind the hon. Gentleman of my answer to a similar question last year, that the visits of Her Majesty's ships to particular ports must be determined by service considerations alone.