HC Deb 15 May 1912 vol 38 c1107

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the fact that sixty-five battleships were required to complete the organisation of the battle squadrons under the new scheme, and that only fifty-two completed effective battleships were available, he would state what organisation it was proposed to adopt in place of the eight squadrons of eight battleships each, with an additional flagship for the commander-in-chief, originally described?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)

The organisation of the Fleet in eight battle squadrons of eight ships, with a Fleet flagship, is an organisation laid down for the express purpose of being worked up to gradually. If the hon. Member will refer to the OFFICIAL REPORT of my speech on the Motion to go into Committee on the Navy Estimates he will find that I emphasised the existing gaps in this organisation which will eventually have to be filled up. For the present the Fourth Battle Squadron will be four ships below strength, and the Sixth quite unformed. New battleships are, however, arriving rapidly, and five are expected to join the Fleets during the next twelve months. Reference to the Navy List each month will show the detailed allocation of ships to the various squadrons.


Is it not true that there is a shortage of eleven for the effective squadrons?


There is no shortage which was not foreseen and fully explained to the House at the time the organisation was unfolded.