HC Deb 01 April 1914 vol 60 cc1164-5

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if his attention has been called to the inadequacy of the messing and sleeping accommodation for the engine-room artificer staff on the "Marlborough" for the eleven days of her recent trials; if he will consider the possibility of devising better provision for the future and of granting shore leave during some of the time of trials lasting so long; if he will have inquiry made into the case of the "Marlborough"; and if he will cause inquiry to be made into the messing provision for the submarine establishment at Harwich when one of the two ships which are usually there for the purpose is away on annual refit and cause better provision to be made?


The conditions under which steam trials are run necessitate a certain amount of inconvenience to all on board, officers as well as men. This is due to several reasons. The arrangements for messing and accommodation can only be temporary. The ship is short of many facilities that exist when she is fully prepared for commissioning, and there are present a large number of officials and men forming the contractor's staff, record party, etc., not part of the regular complement. Subject to these facts, I am not aware that the circumstances in the case of the trials of, the "Marlborough" were exceptional. But if my hon. Friend still desires it, I will call for a report. I should add that all ranks and ratings concerned receive a special allowance during trials. As regards the last part of the question, there are twelve submarines and two submarine depot ships at Harwich. Each of the latter is fitted to mother nine submarines. Some inconvenience is unavoidable when one of these ships is absent refitting, but the refits of the submarines at Sheerness are arranged, as far as possible, to ensure that there are not more than nine at Harwich during the absence of one of the depot ships.


Will the right hon. Gentleman have some inquiry made into this complaint?


I will certainly make inquiry and ask for a report.