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Royal Navy

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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Brazilian Centenary


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what vessels of war are at present stationed on the North American and West Indies station; what would be the extra cost of sending those vessels to Rio de Janeiro for the forthcoming exhibition; and whether this has been considered by their Lordships and with what result?

The force attached to the North America and West Indies station consists of the light cruisers

  • "Raleigh,"
  • "Capetown,"
  • "Calcutta," and
  • "Constance,"
and the sloops
  • "Valerian" and
  • "Wistaria."
The estimated additional cost of sending these skips to Rio de Janeiro is £38,000 including the return voyage. As implied in my reply to the Noble and gallant Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon) on the 14th June, the Admiralty do not consider that these ships would constitute a squadron adequately representative of the British Empire.

Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman think that these four magnificent light cruisers would be better than nothing at Rio?

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that men engaged in commerce are extremely anxious that British ships should go to Rio?

Could the hon. and gallant Gentleman say how long it is since the British flag has been shown in those waters?

Pembroke Dockyard


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty by how much the cost of the work carried out at Pembroke Dockyard on H.M.S. "Capetown," H.M.S. "President," and the R.F.A. "Oleander," exceeded the estimate in each case; whether, in view of the situation as disclosed by the figures and the recommendations of the Geddes Committee, the Admiralty will reconsider the decision to maintain Pembroke?

As far as can be ascertained, the amounts by which the cost of the work has exceeded the original estimate so far are


These excesses have been contributed to by a number of causes, including additional work ordered, changes in wages and cost of materials, delays due to strikes and more urgent work, and generally to labour conditions during the last three years. These conditions, however, affect the work of all the dockyards, and the Admiralty are of opinion that the unsatisfactory results at Pembroke must be attributed mainly to inadequate output of work by the men employed there, and have called serious attention to the necessity for improvement. The reasons for the decision of His Majesty's Government with regard to the retention of Pembroke Dockyard have been given in previous answers and statements, to which I would refer my Noble and gallant Friend.

Is it not obvious that an extra cost of £180,000 is a very serious matter in these days, and is it not really better that the whole question of Pembroke dockyard should be reconsidered forthwith?

I quite agree as to the serious increase, but I have nothing to add to my answer and to my previous statements.

Was the decision to carry on with this work arrived at by the Admiralty or the Cabinet Secretariat?

It was arrived at by the Government in view of national interests.

I have already said in this House that, as far as the Admiralty is concerned, we can do without it.

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say who is responsible for supervising men who have turned out an inadequate output?

The Director of Dockyards under the Board of Admiralty, and we are taking fairly drastic steps in regard to that.

Was the view of the Admiralty frankly put before the Government?

Yes, certainly it was, and the question has been debated in this House, and when I introduced Vote 10 the other day I gave the full national reasons. I do not believe it would pay to do away with Pembroke in the present state of unemployment.

Table Money


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the total estimated saving from the reduction of table money and allowances to flag officers and commodores: and what is the maximum reduction in any one case?

The estimated saving consequent on the reduction of table money to pre-War rates, which takes effect from the 1st July next is as follows:

Compared with rates in force prior to the 1st April, 1922£15,650
Compared with rates in force at present£11,900
The corresponding maximum reductions in any one case are £821 and £639 per annum respectively.

Is this the second reduction which has been made this year and is the figure of 800 exclusive of the reduction of 200 already effected in one particular instance?

On 1st July we shall be back to pre-War rates and that figure is inclusive.

Does the total figure of a single reduction of one officer amount to nearly £1,100 this year?

Capital Ships (Air Attacks)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether it is proposed to carry out experiments with the various methods of attack from the air against any of the capital ships due to be scrapped under the terms of the Washington agreement?

Can we be informed of some details? How many ships are going to be experimented upon and when will it take place?

The experiments are being carried out on H.M.S. "Superb." These will be preceded by those on the monitor "Gordon," which does not come under the provisions of the Washington Treaty.

Prize Money


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that the first share-out of prize money was granted in full to the estate of every rating of the Royal Navy who was killed in action; if he is aware that the second share-out of prize money is being withheld from such estates; and if he will see that this matter is put right, and the dependant of no man killed in the service of his country shall be penalised for such service?

The amount of naval prize money correctly payable to the legal representatives of those killed on qualifying service is the amount which the latter would have earned had they continued to serve until the Armistice. If my hon. and gallant Friend has any specific case in mind which does not seem to have been dealt with on those lines, perhaps he will let me have the particulars.

Am I to understand from the answer that the family of a man who was killed in the service of the country early in the War is in at least as good a position as the family of a man who passed through the fighting and is now alive, and if my hon. Friend thinks this would be only just?

Yes, and if there are any special cases I shall be glad to have them.


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware of the great delay in the distribution of the second share-out of prize money; and if he can expedite the same?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware of the delay in the distribution of naval prize money and the hardship thereby entailed; and whether he will take immediate steps to get this matter settled?

As stated in reply to the hon. Member for Plymouth on the 15th March last, the final distribution of naval prize money is expected to extend over a period of at least nine months. Groups of initial letters are being opened for payment as fast as the reduced staff available admits. Consideration is given to any cases of special necessity, the hardship of which is represented to the Admiralty and justifies special payment.