HC Deb 22 June 1900 vol 84 cc782-3
SIR J. COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he can state approximately the strength and composition of the British force on shore under the command of the Admiral Commanding-in-Chief on the China station; whether this force is composed of units drawn from Her Majesty's ships on the station, and whether the ships from which these units are withdrawn are complete in every respect in fighting efficiency; what proportion does the strength of force on shore bear to the aggregate number of combatants borne by the ships from which the force on shore has been drawn; and whether, on that distant station, any supplementary force to the complements of the ships is placed at Hong Kong or elsewhere at the disposal and under the control of the Admiral, to enable him to provide for minor military operations and contingencies without detriment to the complete fighting efficiency of his fleet.


My right hon. friend is unavoidably absent, but he wishes me to give his reply as follows:—"We have no information as to the composition of the British force on shore under the command of Admiral Seymour, and I am thus prevented from answering the questions on that point; but no doubt large numbers cannot be landed from ships without diminishing their fighting efficiency. The answer to the last question is in the negative, but, of course, the hon. and gallant Gentleman will remember that there are troops at Hong Kong who cooperate with the naval authorities when the necessity arises."


But they cannot fill up the vacancies on the ships. How do the Admiralty propose to replace the men taken away by Admiral Seymour?


I must ask for notice.