HC Deb 15 July 1904 vol 138 cc161-2
COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that during the recent sales of old war vessels the condition, in certain of the cases, that the ships should not be removed from the United Kingdom, was departed from; how many of these vessels were sold to foreigners, and among these how many to Germans; to whom was the battleship "Belleisle" sold, and was the clause mentioned also eliminated in her case; was the "Belleisle" the vessel upon which gunnery experiments were carried out, and was any part of the ship which could give indications of the results of these experiments left in the hands of the purchasers.

(Answered by Mr. Pretyman.) The reply to the first part of the Question is "Yes." The restriction as to non-removal from the United Kingdom is only inserted in certain cases when thought necessary. In the recent sales the advertised conditions have not been departed from.

Strength of Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Men on 1st November, 1899.
Efficients. Non-efficients. Total.
Officers. Non-commissioned officers and men.
1st London Volunteer Rifle Corps (City of London Rifle Volunteer Brigade) 34 692 37 763
13th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (Queen's) 46 1,045 19 1,110
14th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (Inns of Court) 20 325 46 391
12th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (Civil Service) 30 733 2 765
7th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (London Scottish) 34 833 867
19th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (St. Giles's and St. George's) 23 706 47 776
16th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (London Irish) 34 1,033 57 1,124
20th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (Artists) 28 658 1 687

None of the vessels were sold to foreigners, though some have since been disposed of abroad by the purchasers. The "Belleisle" was sold to a London firm without any stipulation as to disposal, except that "she must not be re-sold to the Powers at present at war." She was the vessel on which gunnery experiments were carried out. The results of the experiments were defaced before sale in order to avoid anyone learning anything from her condition.