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Barge Sinkings, Welsh Coast

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has yet received the report on the disaster off the Welsh coast in which a number of ratings and marines lost their lives; and will he communicate its terms to Parliament?


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can now make a further statement on the result of the recent inquiry into the disaster to two barges off the Welsh coast as a result of which 81 ratings lost their lives?

The Report of the Board of Inquiry which was convened to inquire into the circumstances attending the loss of these barges has now been received, and is being examined. Until this examination is finished, it is not in the public interest to make a statement, except that in the meantime steps are being taken to prevent, as far as is humanly possible, any recurrence of this unfortunate event.

I take it that my right hon. Friend has not definitely turned down the idea of communicating the Report to the House?

There is no precedent at all for the Report of a Board of Inquiry being published, but I am prepared to consider, when due consideration has been given to it, the question of making a statement.

I am sure my right hon. Friend is too progressive-minded to say he will not make a statement because it has never been done before.

There are considerations that arise about the holding of a Board of Inquiry which it is essential to observe if we are always to get the fullest possible information.