HC Deb 09 February 1949 vol 461 cc62-3W
83. Mr. Foot

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will make a statement regarding the discovery of damage in H.M.S. "Terrible" on the eve of her transfer to the Royal Australian Navy.

Mr. W. Edwards

On 9th December, 1948, damage was discovered to the starboard main gearing of H.M.A.S. "Sydney," then H.M.S. "Terrible," which was still under construction in Devonport Dockyard. The ship was about to be handed over to the Australian Government as H.M.A.S. "Sydney" and transfer took place as arranged on 16th December. In accordance with the normal practice on discovery of damage, the Commander-in-Chief immediately ordered a Board of Inquiry, which carefully investigated the incident and the report of which is now being studied in the Admiralty.

The ship was under dockyard control and the machinery which had been installed by the main machinery contractors had not been finally accepted. In such circumstances, a number of persons who must necessarily have access to machinery would, despite all appropriate security precautions, be in a position to commit sabotage if they had a motive for doing so. Exhaustive inquiries have so far failed to reveal any direct connection between the damage and persons who may have had a possible motive for sabotage. Nevertheless, the nature of the damage points to sabotage and the case as not regarded as closed. The damage was fortunately slight and has been made good.

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