§ 21. Mr. GILBERT
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the desire of the people of London and adjoining river districts to provide a proper welcome to the officers and men of the naval squadron who are to visit the Thames as part of the Peace celebrations; and whether, in order to allow time for the proper organisation of the reception and public welcome, he can now state the date when the ships will arrive in the Thames, the number of vessels that will compose the squadron, and in about what parts of the river the various ships will be moored?
§ Mr. LONG
Owing to various and heavy commitments, it has not been found possible to assemble in the Thames sufficient of His Majesty's ships to allow of any being berthed in any part of the river other than Southend, where the available ships will lie. There will be, approximately, 13 battleships, 2 battle-cruisers, 4 light cruisers, and a certain number of destroyers and submarines. The ships will be assembled in the Thames on 17th July and will remain till 23rd July.
Will any facilities be given by the railway companies to convey passengers to Southend to see the ships?
§ Mr. LONG
I am afraid I cannot make any statement on that at present. My hon. Friend knows that the situation is abnormal and the difficulty of the arrangements is considerable. We are now in communication with the various local and railway authorities on the subject, and I hope an announcement will be made shortly.
§ Mr. GILBERT
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the shortage of ordinary boats at present, the Admiralty will give any facilities for the small boats in the upper parts of the river to go down to Southend?