HC Deb 16 April 1919 vol 114 c2911W

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, with reference to the sinking of the steamship "Normandy" on 25th January, 1918, whether, having regard to the number of passengers and the cargo carried on that occasion, there was anything out of the ordinary routine for such a vessel to proceed unescorted; and why those who were sent unconvoyed were not sent on other vessels which were then proceeding to Havre or Boulogne which were convoyed, and on which there was plenty of room, so enabling the passengers to reach Cherbourg by land in safety?


There was nothing out of the ordinary routine in the case of this vessel. She carried, besides the crew, one civilian passenger, and twenty-one military, and the Admiralty orders were that on any unescorted vessel, not more than twenty military were allowed. The military concerned, who travelled via Cherbourg, were either leave men bound to Salonika or Egypt, or those necessary to maintain the lines of communication in the neighbourhood of Cherbourg. I understand that the railway congestion would not permit of extra military trains being run from Boulogne, etc., to Cherbourg.