HC Deb 16 March 1903 vol 119 c872

Now I come to the question of the matériel which costs us so much. I know there are Members of this House who always want to have a record of our discharges in the matter of matériel. I may say this. If we have slackened in our rate of mortality it is only because the rate of mortality has been exceedingly brisk in the last few years. The result is that the number of ships struck off the so-called effective list of the Navy is smaller in this year than it has been in the past year or two. That is attributable to the fact that there were fewer ships that could be discarded. But we have withdrawn seven third-class battleships, three sloops, ten gun-boats, and one torpedo-boat, a total of twenty-one ships.