HC Deb 10 March 1936 vol 309 cc1951-2

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the running aground of the "Winchester Castle" during fog off Portland; whether he is aware that there are no wireless directional stations either at Portland or the Needles; and, as all British passenger ships and all cargo ships over 1,600 tons are compelled to carry wireless directional sets, will he consider the advisability of erecting such wireless stations to help the large amount of British shipping that pass these places during foggy weather?


An announced in the Press, a formal investigation into the circumstances of the stranding of the "Winchester Castle" will be held. While there are no direction-finding facilities at Portland or the Needles, there are radio-beacons maintained by the Trinity House at the Start and the Casquets which should enable ships equipped with direction-finders to ascertain or check their position when proceeding on a course up-channel from Ushant to Southampton. Moreover, any ships on that course which are equipped with wireless telegraphy can obtain on request a bearing from Niton. I should add that the compulsory fitting of direction-finding apparatus on ships applies only to passenger ships of 5,000 tons gross and upwards.


Is it not a fact that this is by no means a local problem and that compared with other countries, our coasts are deficient in this directional equipment?


Will the findings of the inquiry be made public?


The findings of the inquiry will certainly be made public.