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Hms "St Vincent" And Britannia"

Volume 91: debated on Friday 15 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that an outbreak of influenza followed by pneumonia occurred on board H.M.S. "St. Vincent," at Portsmouth, last year owing to the contamination of the site of her moorings, and that since the moorings have been dredged there has not been any similar outbreak on board the "St. Vincent"; can he state how long she was away from her moorings; and will he cause the "Britannia" to be removed to other moorings, and not to be again moored in the same position until the site has been thoroughly dredged and the accumulation of filth for years removed.

There was an outbreak of influenza, accompanied by lung and other affections, on board the "St. Vincent" in 1899. The ship was specially inspected at the time by the Medical Director General; the whole question of her sanitary condition was inquired into and the ship was thoroughly overhauled. There was no evidence that the outbreak was due to contamination at the site of the moorings, but the moorings were in fact dredged because it was found that the ship touched the ground at low water. There has been no outbreak of any importance since the date named. The "St. Vincent" left her moorings on the 6th July, 1900, and returned to them on the 20th October. A committee, composed of the following gentlemen: Sir Henry Norbury (Medical Director General), Professor Caulfield, Inspector General Fisher, Fleet Surgeon May, has been engaged during the last two days in examining H. M. S. "Britannia" and making inquiry into all the circumstances likely to affect the health of the cadets. The committee has now terminated its inquiry, and its report is expected immediately. Until that report is 7'eceived I should prefer to postpone answering the last part of the hon. Member's question; but I may say there is no reason to believe that there Is any accumulation of filth under the "Britannia."