HC Deb 06 August 1919 vol 119 cc335-6
12. Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether there are, some 300 of His Majesty's motor launches moored in the River Hamble; if he will state the original cost, and the present expenditure per week for the maintenance, of a motor launch; whether any motor launches have been refitted with a view to sale; if so, at what cost; and can he state the policy of the Government with regard to the future retention or disposal of the motor launches in the River Hamble?


Of the 300 craft referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend, 210 are motor launches. of which 187 are for disposal. The original cost of these motor launches was about £8,000 each.

The present expenditure for the maintenance of one of these vessels is, roughly, £2 a week, including wages, stores, and the cost of three motor launches in commission for attendance on those paid off.

A Committee has been appointed, under the chairmanship of Admiral Sir W. H. May, including representatives of Admiralty Technical Departments and out-Bide experts, to advise on the best method of sale. Up to date 44 of these launches have been sold.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

Is there any hope of disposing of the 187 motor launches in a short space of time, and, if not, would not the most economical thing to do be to scrap them?


We are taking steps to offer them for sale. A Committee is at work to that end; failing that, I will place before it my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

Will the Committee report shortly?


Can my right hon. Friend say what price?


No. As we have 187 to dispose of, I am sure my hon. Friend will see that it would not be expedient to give an answer to that.

Commander Viscount CURZON

Could they be disposed of by private treaty?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is he aware that these motor launches were a complete failure in war-time, and, that being the case, will he consider the advisability of disposing of the whole lot?


I said that 187 were for disposal, and I am not prepared to concur that they were a complete, failure. In any case, it is not a wise thing to say when we are trying to sell them, and it is not correct.