§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he will state the time, from the laying down until commissioning, now usually taken in the construction of battleships; what is the date of the commission of the "Russell," of the programme of July 1898, laid down in 1899, and launched in February 1901; and of the "Albemarle," of the programme announced in the financial year ended March 1899, laid down in January 1900, and launched in March 1901; whether the trials of the latter ship were only begun in January 1903; and what progress has been made in expediting the construction of ships.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The average time estimated for the completion of the "Albemarle," "Montagu," "Queen," "Prince of Wales," "King Edward VII." and "New Zealand" is three years two months. The "Russell" was commissioned on the 19th February. The "Albemarle" has not yet been commissioned, and her trials, as stated, were begun in January. The rate of construction of ships is being accelerated, and it is hoped, moreover, that the practice which is now being adopted of allowing vessels to be completed in the contract yards will tend to greater rapidity.