HC Deb 12 April 1911 vol 24 cc469-70

asked the Postmaster-General whether the homeward-bound Cunard steamships "Campania" and "Lusitania" called at Queenstown on Tuesday the 4th instant and on 27th March, respectively, and landed the Irish mails only; if, owing to the state of the weather, those ships were unable to call at Fishguard; whether, as a result, the English, Scotch, and Continental mails had to be taken on to Liverpool, thereby causing a loss of practically an entire business day to London and the rest of England and Scotland in the delivery of the mails; whether, if the English, Scotch, and Continental mails had been landed at Queens-town and sent on by special service, considerable time would have been saved and correspondents in the United Kingdom would have been enabled to reply by the outgoing mail the following Wednesday evening; whether, in the case of the "Campania," the mails taken on to Liverpool lost the Wednesday's outward White Star mail and had to wait until the following Saturday's outgoing mail to reply; whether the homeward-bound Cunard mail steamers have been unable to call at Fishguard owing to bad weather on five occasions since the commencement of the present year, thereby causing delay in the delivery of the homeward American mails and inconvenience to correspondents; whether, if the mails had been landed at Queenstown on those occasions instead of being taken on to Liverpool, a considerable saving of time would have been effected in the delivery of the mails throughout the United Kingdom; and whether he will make representations to the United States Postmaster-General drawing his attention to the above facts, and urge upon him the advisability of the homeward American mails being landed at Queenstown as formerly?


May I also ask if the "Mauretania," another of the Cunard liners, failed to land her mails and passengers at Fishguard on Monday last?

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

The "Lusitania" did not call at Queenstown on the 27th March on her eastward voyage from New York; the "Campania" called there on the 4th instant. Both Packets through stress of weather failed to call at Fishguard. The Irish Mails only were landed at Queens-town from the "Campania"; the remainder of the mails brought by the "Campania," and all the mails brought by the "Lusitania" were carried on to Liverpool. Under the arrangement which were in force when the homeward-bound Cunard Packets called only at Queens-town and Liverpool—arrangements which were, of course, designed to secure the earliest delivery of the correspondence possible under various conditions—all the mails, except those for Ireland, would have been carried on to Liverpool on both the occasions in question, that being the best port for them in the circumstances, and correspondence for Great Britain and the Continent would have derived no benefit by being landed at Queenstown. The correspondence conveyed by the "Lusitania" was delivered in London on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday, the 28th March, and at corresponding times throughout the country. A considerable quantity, probably the greater part, of the correspondence conveyed by the "Campania," including that for the Eastern Central District of London was delivered on Wednesday, the 5th instant, in time for replies to be sent by the outward-bound White Star Packet. The calls at Fishguard omitted during the present year are as stated by the hon. Member. As he is aware, all the Cunard Packets, except the "Lusitania" and "Mauretania," at present call at Queenstown on the eastward voyage. The facts now put forward would not justify me in urging the United States Postmaster-General to use his influence with the Cunard Company to secure a resumption of the call at Queenstown by these two Packets also. With regard to the further question of which I have received private notice, the hon. Member is right in saying that the "Mauretania" failed to land the mails at Fishguard on the evening of the 10th instant. In all cases the omission of the call at Fishguard was due to stress of weather.