HC Deb 04 March 1918 vol 103 cc1727-8W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if his attention has been called to the anxiety experienced by the families of the crews of the steam drifters employed on outpost duty in the neighbourhood of the Channel; if they could be accompanied by armed ships when on night duty; and, in the alternative, if faster and more powerfully armed vessels could be employed on this night duty and the losses of these fishing boats be minimised?


My hon. Friend's question doubtless refers especially to the drifter patrol which was recently raided by the enemy's destroyers. The Board of Admiralty sympathises deeply with the families of the men employed in these steam drifters, no less with those of other officers and men of His Majesty's ships. The Board is, however, satisfied that adequate arrangements are made for the support of these vessels, but my hon. Friend will easily realise that it would not be in the public interest to give detailed information as to the nature and disposition of the vessels which constitute the supporting force. My right hon. Friend the first Lord will deal further with this matter in his statement on Tuesday.