HC Deb 24 October 1918 vol 110 cc945-6W

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that on Tuesday morning one of the two remaining mail boats running between Holyhead and Kingstown was in imminent danger of being sunk like the "Leinster," a hostile submarine having been sighted well out of the water; and whether the mail boat was on that occasion protected in any way?


No information has been received of this occurrence on the date mentioned, but perhaps my hon. Friend is referring to the previous day, when one of the mail boats reported sighting a submarine which was out of torpedo range. With regard to the latter part of the question, the usual protection and the measures for controlling the Irish Sea were in force at the time.


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the Post Office sorters have refused to go to sea on the Irish mail boats owing to the want of Government protection against hostile submarine attacks and that, in consequence, sorting on board the mail packets has been discontinued; if so, has the Post Office Department made any representation to the Admiralty in favour of protection being extended to those boats; and, if so, with what result?


I am not aware that any of the officers employed in sorting on board the mail packet between Holyhead and Kingstown refused to travel on the boat owing to any want of Government protection against enemy action, and I arrived at the decision to suspend the sorting duties independently of any such consideration. I have transmitted to the Admiralty all representations made to me on the subject of protection. The question whether, and, if so, in what form, protection can and should be given is not one in which I can properly intervene.