HC Deb 07 November 1934 vol 293 cc1013-4

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can state, in connection with the recent suspected loss of Admiralty confidential papers in transit from Hebburn-on-Tyne to Portsmouth, for what reason the box containing these papers was not kept throughout the journey in the personal custody of the Admiralty messenger and taken with him into his compartment, in view of the fact that its size was only 24 inches by 21 inches by 14 inches; and why, if it is permitted to leave such papers in the guard's van, they cannot be sent without the assistance of a messenger, in the interests of economy?


The box was not in charge of a specially detailed messenger, but of an official who happened to be returning from the Tyne to Portsmouth on official duty, and it might well have been sent unaccompanied, in charge of the guard. The incident occurred in the month of August, and thus received more publicity than it deserved.