§ 62. Sir J. BUTCHER
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the late 889 Captain Fryatt's ship, the "Brussels," is advertised for sale at the Baltic Exchange on the 23rd instant, and that such a disposal of a ship associated with such historical memories would cause profound regret to large numbers of the officers and men of our mercantile marine; and whether he will cancel the proposed sale and utilise the ship as a training ship, or otherwise preserve it?
I have been asked to reply. The "Brussels" has been stripped of all her fittings, and is so damaged that there is nothing remaining on board of any general interest. I fully realise that the whole nation shares in admiration of the gallant conduct of Captain Fryatt whose name is associated with this ship, but if all the British steamers on which heroic actions took place were to be retained as exhibition ships, a very large proportion of the British mercantile marine would be laid idle. The ship has no value for exhibition purposes, nor would she be suitable as a training ship The Government have no need of her and if private purchasers can see their way to make efficient use of her, it is felt that this is the most satisfactory solution of the problem. Otherwise she must remain a constant charge. The Curator of the War Museum has been invited to inspect the ship to see if there is anything of historical national interest which could be placed in the National War Museum as a permanent record of the services of this very gallant officer of the British Mercantile Marine.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this ship was given back by the Belgian Government to us?