HC Deb 26 November 1930 vol 245 cc1291-3
28. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many battleships and battle-cruisers, respectively, are now in commission, reserve, and in reserve commission; and what will be the total saving under all heads if the obligations under the Five-Power Naval Treaty signed this year were anticipated by reducing our capital ship strength to 15 ships of the line now?


As the answer is very long, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Would the right hon. Gentleman give me the one figure asked for in the last part of the question?


I give a figure of £4,000,000, which is indicated in Command Paper 3547.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it £4,000,000 a year?


No, it is £4,000,000 for the period of the Treaty.

Following is the answer:

As regards the first part of the question, apart from the "Iron Duke," which is in commission with a reduced complement as Gunnery Firing Ship, and the "Centurion," which has been rendered unfit for further warlike service and is used as a Target Ship, the following is the position as regards battleships and battle-cruisers, respectively:

In commission with full complement 10
In commission with reduced complement 2
Undergoing trials with reduced complement 1
Undergoing refit with reduced complement 1
Paid off for preparation for sale 1
In commission with full complement 3
Paid off for large repair 1

As regards the second part of the question, there are five Capital Ships to be disposed of when the London Naval Treaty comes into force, namely:

Of these, the "Iron Duke," which under the Treaty may be retained for training purposes if demilitarised, is at present so used and will be demilitarised in due course. The "Benbow" has already been paid off and is being prepared for sale; and orders have been given for the "Emperor of India" to be paid off also, preparatory to her disposal. There is a good deal of work to be carried out by the dockyards on the ships before they can be handed over to the shipbreakers, but it is anticipated that the remaining two vessels—the "Marlborough" and the "Tiger" will be paid off within six months. The fulfilment of our obligations under the Treaty is being anticipated to a considerable extent with a resultant saving of approximately £4,000,000, as indicated in Command Paper 3547/1930.