§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, W.R., Shipley)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if H.M.S. "Terrible," fitted with water-tube boilers, sailed from Hong Kong on the 16th inst upon a service of most grave national emergency in the carrying of troops for the relief of 1329 British citizens in Peking, and arrived at Ta-ku on the 22nd inst., having accomplished the distance of 1,800 miles in five and a half days, or about 13½ miles per hour; whether, seeing that the vessel has formerly attained a trial speed of 22 miles per hour, any explanation of the falling-off in speed can be given; and whether the Admiralty will telegraph to the Admiral in command for an explanation.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (MR. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The hon. Member is wrong in his dates. He states that the "Terrible" arrived on the 22nd. As a matter of fact she landed her troops on the morning of the 21st, so she probably arrived the previous day. We have every reason to believe that the boilers and machinery of the ship are thoroughly efficient. There are no grounds for telegraphing to the Admiral in command on the matter, and I am sure at such a time of strain as this he ought to be troubled with as few demands for explanation as possible.
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what speed, according to his own computation, the vessel did make on this voyage?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am not in a position to make a computation. We do not know whether she accompanied a transport or whether she had to call at any places on the road. I have no doubt she went at the speed she was instructed to travel at.
§ MR. ALLAN (Gateshead)
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House why it was that the vessel did not attain her designed speed of twenty-two knots in the case of a grave national emergency?