HC Deb 06 November 1940 vol 365 cc1324-5
26. Mr. Ammon

asked the Minister of Information the reason for the delay in publishing the news of the disaster to the "Empress of Britain"?

Mr. Cooper

The "Empress of Britain" was bombed by enemy aircraft and set on fire about 8.30 a.m. on 26th October. She was taken in tow but was torpedoed by a U-boat in the early morning of 28th October. She sank soon afterwards, and the sinking was announced by the Admiralty and War Office about 2 p.m. on the same day, as soon as the position regarding survivors was clear.

Mr. Ammon

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the reply to the announcement made by the Admiralty to the German broadcast was tantamount to a denial of the sinking?

Mr. Cooper

I think the original announcement on the German wireless was inaccurate. They said they had sunk the ship when she was in fact on fire, and therefore the Admiralty had to wait until they knew all the facts before they could make a statement.