§ MR. YERBURGH (Chester)
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether submarine vessels belonging to His Majesty's Fleet are so fitted that they may be easily grappled and raised in the event of their being so injured that the crew are unable to bring their vessel to the surface; whether Al Submarine could have been raised to the surface within forty-eight hours in the event of her crew having survived the shock of collision; and whether His Majesty's Fleet possesses any special salvage vessels or apparatus for the speedy recovery of vessels sunk in a harbour fairway during war-time, or whether they are entirely dependent upon private firms for such work.
(Answered by Mr. Pretyman.) No special means are provided, these vessels are easily grappled owing to their shape. In the case of the Al no difficulty was experienced in passing hawsers under the vessel and attaching to lighters, and this was done by the dockyard; but, through the send of the sea, the hawsers parted, and the Commander-in-Chief then reported that there was no alternative but regular salvage operations. With regard to the second part of the Question, it is impossible to say; the crew of the Al were probably drowned at once. The Admiralty have no special salvage vessels and are dependent on private firms for such work. At each dockyard port, however, there are very experienced divers, and a number of craft, that could be utilised for raising vessels.