§ 24 and 27. Mr. Lambert
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether he can now make a statement relating to the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Royal Oak";
(2) the total British shipping tonnage sunk by enemy action, specifying tonnage sunk by submarine and surface warship, respectively, since the commencement of the war; and the total of enemy submarines and surface warships known to have been destroyed during the same period?
§ 25. Commander Sir Archibald Southby
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is now in a position to make a further statement to the House regarding the loss of His Majesty's Ship "Royal Oak"?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)
I would ask my right hon. Friend and my hon. and gallant Friend to await the statement which my right hon. Friend the First Lord is making later to-day.
§ Mr. Shakespeare
I am not aware that any midshipman was called upon to assist in the identification of those killed in His Majesty's Ship"Royal Oak,"but in any case the hon. Member will appreciate that it may be necessary to call upon any survivor to perform a similar duty.
§ Mr. Poole
In view of the fact that the midshipman concerned was not at that time on the "Royal Oak," and if I give the hon. Gentleman the particulars, will he make further inquiries and give us an assurance that in no circumstances will one so young be called upon to perform this work if anyone else is available?
§ Mr. Shakespeare
I will certainly make inquiries if the hon. Gentleman will give me the information, but I cannot give that undertaking. I can well conceive that in certain circumstances the midshipman may be the only person who can do this work.
§ Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft
Is my hon. Friend aware that in the last war thousands of young officers of this age were always leading their men and were always asked to give such evidence on such occasions without any ill effect, and that they would resent the hon. Member's suggestion?