HC Deb 08 July 1907 vol 177 cc1147-8
MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)

I beg-to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware of the custom of the Navy to enter in the signal logs the names of the ships assembled in a fleet and to signal certain information every Sunday; whether he is aware that the logs of the Channel Fleet show that, instead of the nominal strength of fourteen battleships, the Channel Fleet numbered, on each Sunday, 5th May to 23rd June inclusive, 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, and 10 battleships, so that four battleships have frequently been away without replacement; and whether, under these circumstances, the Board desires to modify the official statement issued on 17th June that, as a rule, not more than two battleships at the most are absent, but three have on occasions been absent.

THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. Edmund Robertson, Dundee)

The previous reply referred to by the hon. Member did not profess to give the number of battleships actually present with the flag, but only the number not in dockyard hands. I am surprised at the hon. Member being able to quote from an official book containing confidential information which should not be accessible to persons outside the active service.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in reply to a previous question, on 24th June, the Civil Lord of the Admiralty said that no ships were away from the Channel Fleet, whereas as a matter of fact the "Dominion," the "New Zealand," and the "Triumph" were all away in dockyard hands? Is there any explanation on the part of the Admiralty?


My reply is strictly correct. If the hon. Member will give me any information which is inconsistent with it I will look into the matter.