HC Deb 10 October 1912 vol 42 cc508-9

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that on the 9th November, 1904, it was reported to the Admiralty by Channel Fleet Letter No. 997/C.87, that a German squadron had anchored at Lerwick in September, 1904, had set up bearing marks on the shore, had surveyed Lerwick and its approaches, and that this was the fifth occasion on which German squadrons had visited Lerwick, on each occasion taking soundings of Lerwick and its vicinity; whether he has any official information showing that a German gunboat last month remained some time at. Baltasound, in the Shetland Islands, and, during her stay in those waters, made a survey of the harbour; and, if so, whether they have made any representation to the German Government?


The Noble Lord's recollection is correct that he addressed a letter to the Admiralty on the date quoted, containing a report of a visit to the Shetlands. It would not, however, be in accordance with practice for me to state the contents of confidential communications which pass between admirals in command of fleets and the Admiralty. In regard to the latter part of the question, H.M.S. "Endeavour" was surveying in the Shetlands last month, and I understand that some of the inhabitants supposed her to be a German vessel, and consequently circulated the rumours which have given rise to the Noble Lord's question. These rumours are without any foundation in fact.