HC Deb 09 February 1933 vol 274 cc379-80W

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is prepared to advise the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to use Gibraltar as a naval base for at least part of the Mediterranean Fleet; and if, in view of the amount spent on the dockyard and port of Gibraltar, he will extend its use rather than concentrate His Majesty's ships so much at Malta?


This question has been very recently investigated. Gibraltar cannot in present circumstances be used with advantage or economy as a naval base for part of the Mediterranean Fleet, nor would it be economical to extend the use of the dockyard, which is at present utilised for the repair of naval and mercantile vessels to the limit of its restricted capacity. The present Mediterranean Fleet is very much smaller than the fleets maintained in these waters before the War, when Gibraltar was developed to its fullest capacity. To divide the fleet into two parts, at its present strength, would seriously hinder the necessary programme of exercises and training as well as considerably increase the cost of maintenance.