HC Deb 08 December 1938 vol 342 c1380W
Sir R. Rankin

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what progress has now been made in providing guns in small ships in the Merchant Navy to defend themselves against attacks from submarines or airplanes in the event of an emergency; whether supplies of guns are available at any British ports in various parts of the world, and whether the majority of vessels in the mercantile marine could now be fitted with such guns at short notice in any emergency?

Mr. Shakespeare

In reply to the first part I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the late First Lord on 4th May last, in which he stated that adequate stocks of anti-submarine guns have already been accumulated. Good progress has also been made in the provision of anti-aircraft equipments.

The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative, and as regards the last part there should be no appreciable delay in fitting the majority of British merchant vessels with guns in an emergency.