§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what is the total number of 12-inch Mark VIII. guns which have been completed for the Navy; what is the number of these guns lauded for repairs and the number of these awaiting repairs, exclusive of those landed for repairs; what is the total number of 12-inch Mark IX. guns which have been completed for the Navy; what is the number under construction for the naval service; and what is the number of ships completed or built which carry 12-inch Mark IX. armament.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. PRETYMAN, Suffolk, Woodbridge)
The total number of 12-inch Mark VIII. guns that have been completed for the Navy is seventy-five, viz., sixty mounted in ships and fifteen spare. Two of these guns have been landed for repairs. One other, which has been used for proof purposes, is awaiting repairs. The total number of 12-inch Mark IX. guns that have been completed for the Navy is ninety-seven, viz., seventy-sis mounted in ships and twenty-one spare. Thirteen more are under construction. Nineteen ships carrying these guns are completed. Three ships building carry these guns. A number of 12-inch Mark VIII. guns have been landed for adjustment from ships since the defect was observed in the gnus of the "Majestic." These have been exchanged with reserve guns, because reserves were available at the time, and it was considered desirable to utilise the reserve guns rather than I carry out the adjustments on board. The adjustment is of a minor nature and is one which will, in future, be done on board the ships or on shore as most convenient.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
Has any change Recently been made in the proportions of guns of each class kept in reserve.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
No change has been made. The present number is the number which has been adopted since 1902.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB
Has there been any alteration since, the statement on the subject made by Lord Goschen before he left the Admiralty.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
I am not aware of any alteration. I made a statement a year ago as to the number of reserve guns. I do not call to mind Lord Goschen's statement.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether since that time any change has been made in the proportions of the reserves kept in certain foreign fleets; also how long it will be before the 43 guns which, have been taken out of the reserves for temporary purposes will be again replaced in the reserves.
§ *MR. PRETYMAN
Should it be decided to retube any of these guns, the process will take three months. As the right hon. Baronet is aware, it is desirable sometimes to retube guns before it is absolutely necessary in order that the life of all the guns may not run out together. But with regard to readjustment, that is a matter only of a day or two, so that the guns will be available in the reserves immediately. I am unable to answer without notice the Questions of the right hon. Baronet as to the proportions in reserves in foreign fleets.