HC Deb 24 February 1914 vol 58 cc1588-9

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has any record in his office regarding the detachable buoys used in the Russian Navy for the purpose of locating a submarine unable to rise to the surface by her own resources; whether he is aware that the position of the submarine "Minoga," sunk off Libau about three years ago, was located by means of a detachable buoy, that the fate of the crew hung in the balance for nine hours, at the end of which time the submarine was raised and the crew and officers, numbering sixteen hands in all, were saved; and, if he has not the information respecting the apparatus, will he open up negotiations with the naval authorities in Russia, so that, at any rate, in 1914 the British Admiralty may be placed in the same position with regard to the possession of detachable buoys for locating a sunken submarine as were the Russian Navy in 1911?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. All the particulars of the accident referred to by the hon. Member are known at the Admiralty, and have been carefully studied. It is not possible to argue these technical points at Question Time, and, indeed, in the necessary conditions of Parliamentary Debate, it would be difficult at any time. The Admiralty opinion is that the circumstances of the "Minoga" accident afford no support to the case in favour of detachable buoys, but, indeed, tell in a contrary direction.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that part of my question in which I ask whether or not what was essential to the Russian Navy in 1911 is not regarded as essential to the British Navy in 1914?


No. I think our Naval experience entitles us to be our own judges of what is best.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of attaching the hon. Member as a buoy to one of the submarines?