HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 cc1205-6
31. Mr. Adamson

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can now make a statement on the salvage of the submarine His Majesty's Ship "Thetis"; the means adopted for the recovery of the remaining bodies of the crew; and whether facilities were afforded to the relatives to make the funeral arrangements, or were they carried out by the naval authorities?

Mr. Shakespeare

After delays due to bad weather, the salvage of His Majesty's Ship "Thetis" has been success-fully completed and the vessel was taken to Liverpool on 17th November. The bodies of those of the crew which still remained in the submarine were removed by a special party of Cannock Chase miners who volunteered their services, assisted by naval ratings and personnel of the Liverpool Salvage Association. The victims, when identified, were buried, in accordance with the wishes of the relatives, either privately or by public funeral at Holyhead, at which full naval honours were paid. Now that this difficult salvage operation has been successfully carried out I should like to pay a tribute to the work of the Liverpool and Glasgow Salvage Association, who were responsible for carrying out the salvage, and also to the naval personnel and to the civilians who were associated with them in their long and arduous task.

Mr. Adamson

Were the naval ratings specially trained in this work, and will the Admiralty consider having naval ratings trained for such emergencies in future?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, I think they had been. Of course, the help of the Cannock Chase miners was invaluable.

Mr. Logan

Has any word of thanks been sent to the miners for their courageous assistance in this unfortunate incident, and if not, can it be conveyed to them that the people of Merseyside appreciate very greatly the services they rendered?

Mr. Shakespeare

I am not sure whether that has been done, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman.