§ Sir J. LEIGH
asked the Secretary of State for War how many ships are classed as War Department vessels; for what are these vessels used; and if he will consider whether the estimated cost of £129,000 could be reduced by utilising privately-owned transport?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The total number of steam, motor or sailing vessels classed as War Department vessels at home and abroad is 84.606W
These vessels are used for the following services:
- (a) Coastwise conveyance of War Department stores where such conveyance is more economical than using commercial freight;
- (b) Target towing, etc., for the training of coast artillery;
- (c) Conveyance of troops, stores, supplies and water to outlying forts.
It would not be possible to arrange for services under (b) by commercial firms, nor would it be economical to do so for the services under (c). The question of the economical employment of all vessels is continually under review, any surplus vessels being sold, and the number being kept down to the minimum required for the services referred to above.