HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 cc1273-4
27. Mr. Cocks

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the fact that the French Admiralty have already decided to construct five diving-bells of the type used in saving members of the crew of the United States of America's submarine "Squalus"; and whether the British Admiralty have come to any decision on the subject?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)

As I informed the hon. Member on 21st June, the possibility of the adoption of this diving-bell will be considered together with the other questions affecting the safety of submarines. A final decision on the future policy governing the saving of life in submarines can only be made after the Tribunal of Inquiry has reported on the circumstances of the loss of life in His Majesty's Submarine "Thetis."

Mr. Cocks

Can the hon. Member say why there is this delay on the part of the Admiralty when France has already acted? Is there anything wrong with the Admiralty? Is it not time that there was a new First Lord?

Mr. Shakespeare

It is quite untrue that the Admiralty are not doing all they can. The Admiralty are examining this matter, but I would point out that until we have final evidence, which only the inquiry can give, it would be unwise to come down on one side or the other.

Mr. Kirkwood

Have the Admiralty considered the advisability of experimenting with a glass tank so that they would be able to see the apparatus at work in getting them out of the chamber?

Mr. Shakespeare

We have a number of tanks of our own, and some firms have them also.