HC Deb 09 June 1920 vol 130 c379

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, seeing that the Admiralty have at their disposal one of the most proficient and well-equipped salvage plants in the country, also a well-trained staff with good experience, who have attained most successful results, and that both men and plant are not being used to full advantage, and the Admiralty are now placing salvage work, under Admiralty control, out to private contract, this work could be undertaken by His Majesty's dockyards without distressing other work; and, seeing that the trained and experienced men who have done such valuable service are being discharged from His Majesty's dockyards, if the dockyards were given a fair apportionment of salvage work would both discharges and distress caused by unemployment be greatly relieved?


The Salvage Section under the Admiralty has ceased to exist per se; with a few exceptions, the personnel has been demobilised and have either joined private firms or have returned to their previous employment. The vessels which were fitted out and used by the Section have either been returned to their owners or are, with the few remaining officers and others, under the Naval Salvage Adviser on the coast of Belgium, where they have enough employment in raising the blockships at Ostend and Zeebrugge clearing those harbours to keep them busy for several months. The nature of the work there is difficult, and neither personnel nor material can at present be spared for any other work. Some special fittings for salvage vessels are kept ready for emergency in the dockyards, and certain officers and men have had experience in salvage, but they are not borne specially for this duty, and as they are now fully employed on other Admiralty work it would cause inconvenience and distress if they were withdrawn. Even if the pumps and gear that we have could be utilised at the present time for salvage purposes, and men were sent to attend to them, the effect on discharges would be negligible.