HC Deb 08 February 1926 vol 191 cc673-4W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will state the present strength of the British naval forces on the Yang-tse river; whether the naval forces which were landed at Hankow in June were under the orders of the local volunteer forces; whether these forces are organised purely for the protection of British commercial interests and whether the expenses incurred in connection with the landing of naval forces are borne by the taxpayer in England or by the British commercial interests in China?


The present strength of the British naval forces on the Yang-tse river consists of six "Insect" class river gunboats, namely:

  • "Bee" (flagship of E.A. Yang-tae),
  • "Cockchafer,"
  • "Cricket,"
  • "Gnat,"
  • "Mantis,"
  • "Scarab,"
and four old river gunboats, namely:
  • "Woodcock,"
  • "Woodlark,"
  • "Teal,"
  • "Widgeon."
The British senior naval officer took charge of the local volunteer forces. The local volunteer forces are organised for the defence of lives and property in the foreign settlements in China. United States and Japanese naval forces also took part in the landing. The only extra expense falling on the British taxpayer is that arising from the landing of the British naval forces, and this expense is confined to the payment of allowances in accordance with the Regulations to the personnel landed, and to consumption or damage of any stores employed.