HC Deb 04 May 1943 vol 389 cc28-9
61. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any statement to make concerning the sinking of two barges off the coast of Wales and the consequent loss of the lives of a number of soldiers?

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

I have been asked to reply, as the casualties were not soldiers, but Royal Marine and Royal Navy personnel. This regrettable incident, which took place in a heavy gale, has been the subject of a board of inquiry, the full report of whose findings has not yet been received and considered. I can, however, assure my hon. Friend that the report of the inquiry will be very fully examined with a view to taking any necessary preventive or other measures.

Mr. Ammon

Will the result of the inquiry be made public to this House? Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is reported that most of these people were not so much drowned or swamped in the barges as they were dashed to death on rocks, owing to an inshore gale?

Mr. Alexander

I had better have notice of that Question, while I examine the report more fully.

Mr. Woods

Were any of these men equipped with life-saving belts or jackets?

Mr. Alexander

All our personnel are so equipped.