HL Deb 31 May 1886 vol 306 cc445-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that the Admiralty has decided to stop the progress of construc- tion of the iron-clad ships Trafalgar and Nile; also, whether he can lay any information before the House as to the alleged structural defects of H.M.S. Calypso, and the failure of the machinery of H.M.S. Phaeton on her trial trip? It would, he said, be a great satisfaction to know whether it was the intention of the Admiralty to proceed with the Nile and Trafalgar, seeing that it was proposed by a Member of the House of Commons to strike them off the Estimates. He trusted that the noble Marquess and the Admiralty would not be led away by any suggestion to reduce the strength of the Navy in the iron-clad class, for it would, he thought, be a most unwise proceeding to stop the building of the two ships to which he had referred in the first part of his Question. Whatever the Admiralty might do, it was quite certain that other nations were pushing on and building powerful vessels. With regard to the other vessels named in the Question, he hoped the noble Marquess would be able to give satisfactory information, and that no person would be placed upon any inquiry who had been interested in the building of the vessels.


, in reply said, that it was not the intention of the Board of Admiralty to make any change in their determination to proceed with the construction of the Nile and the Trafalgar. With regard to the defects of the Calypso, and the circumstances connected with them, there could be no doubt they existed, and they were being made the subject of a searching inquiry, and he should hesitate to express an opinion, upon the matter while that inquiry was proceeding. The ship was built at Chatham, and the inquiry was being conducted by Admiral Codrington, the Director of Dockyards (Mr. Elgar), and a gentleman connected with the Constructors' Department. The present Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard (Admiral Codrington) was not in office when the ship was building at Chatham. He was informed that the defects could be speedily remedied, and that the ship would be able to go to sea with the Training Squadron in the course of the month of June. He had received a Report as to the failure of the machinery on board the Phaeton; but since then the vessel had again been to sea, and no mention was made in the general Report, which he had received that day, of the engines; therefore, he presumed that they had worked all right. He had, however, called for a special Report.