HC Deb 19 February 1917 vol 90 cc971-2
39. Mr. HOLT

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether all the following ships, the loss of which has been reported, were sunk by submarines, namely, "Cilicia," 3,750 tons; "Ferga," 791 tons; "Margarita," 375 tons; "Ashwold," 129 tons; "Ireland," 152 tons; and "King Alfred"?


It is not the policy to announce how ships are sunk, or where. Both these facts are of use to the enemy. As my hon. Friend is aware, information that a vessel is sunk or damaged is communicated confidentially to the shipowners concerned and to Lloyd's.


Having regard to the great importance of not giving the public an exaggerated notion of the victims of the German submarine campaign, will the right hon. Gentleman, through the Press Bureau, prevent the Press from definitely ascribing the loss of ships to submarines, as the Press can have no knowledge that a submarine was either directly or indirectly the cause of the loss?


I have said that we make no announcements as to how ships are sunk, therefore if any statements have appeared that ships have been sunk by submarines that cannot be in consequence of official information from us. I will make a note of the suggestion of my hon. Friend that some steps should be taken in regard to the matter.