HC Deb 13 September 1909 vol 10 cc1734-5

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he could give any information as to what the Government is doing to assist in the search for the missing steamship "Waratah"?


asked whether the Admiralty had given directions for any of His Majesty's ships to assist in the search for the missing liner "Waratah"; and, if not, whether instructions for this purpose could be given forthwith?


Acting under the instructions of the Senior Naval Officer at Simonstown, in the absence at sea of the Commander-in-Chief at the Cape of Good Hope, search was made by His Majesty's ships with full Admiralty approval, as follows: His Majesty's ship "Forte"—from 1st August (the "Waratah" being then four days overdue at Cape Town) practically continuously up to 17th August; His Majesty's ship "Pandora"—from 3rd August practically continuously till 23rd August; His Majesty's ship "Hermes" (flagship) arrived at Durban from Beira on 12th August, employed on search from 12th to 17th August. The search by His Majesty's ships was discontinued in accordance with the opinion of a conference held on the 17th August, at which the Governor of the Cape, the acting Prime Minister and another Minister, the captain of the Union Castle steamship "Briton," the agent of Messrs. Lund and Sons, the owners, and the naval Commander-in-Chief were present. The conference suggested the chartering by the owners and underwriters of a steamer for a month. This is now being done with the concurrence and financial support of the Australian Government, the vessel being chartered for 90 days. The Admiralty on 6th September were asked to lend a lieutenant for three months for this vessel and agreed to do so. The Commander-in-Chief has detailed an officer accordingly. Five naval ratings have also been lent as a search party to the steamship selected, which sailed on Saturday.

Mr. J. D. REES

Would not the vessel have been found long ago if she had been fitted with wireless apparatus?


It is impossible to say without knowing the actual circumstances in which the ship may have found herself.


Has wireless telegraphy not proved efficacious in such cases?


In certain cases it has. But we do not know the conditions of the "Waratah."