Skip to main content

Royal Navy

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Demobilisation Centre, Plymouth


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will consider re-establishing at Plymouth the centre for the demobilisation of Naval personnel, in view of the fact that under the present arrangements Plymouth men must travel from Plymouth to Portsmouth in order to obtain their demobilisation suits.

The Navy, like the other services, has now only one civilian clothing centre, that at Portsmouth. Although I realise that this may mean a journey for men demobilised elsewhere, I regret that in present circumstances it would not be economical to set up other civilian clothing centres to meet such cases. Men demobilised from the Navy may, however, use the Army civilian clothing centre at York, or the Royal Air Force centre at Kirkham if these are more convenient.

Surplus Landing Craft (Houseboats)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that large numbers of landing craft are being disposed of by his Department to firms intending to convert them to houseboats; that these craft were sold with the understanding that the necessary materials would be made available for their conversion, but that applications to his Department for permits for timber and other materials have been rejected; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, Sir. Sales of surplus Government small craft by the Admiralty were begun shortly after the war ended, and the conversion to houseboats was one of the uses suggested for minor landing craft. No direct undertaking was given that materials for conversion would be made available, but, until the beginning of this year, the Admiralty authorised the issue of timber for this purpose from the quantities allocated for merchant shipbuilding and ship repair. I regret, however, that recent reductions in the amount of timber available for shipbuilding and ship repair has since compelled the Admiralty to withhold further issues for houseboats. Minor landing craft are still sold to individual applicants, but although no restriction is placed by the Admiralty on the use to which they are put, it is made clear to such purchasers that no supplies of timber or other materials for conversion can be made by the Admiralty.

In view of the fact that a great many people, including a number of ex-Servicemen who have invested their gratutities in these undertakings, were given to understand that timber would be made available, and were also given designs from the disposal board at the Admiralty for the conversion of these craft, are not the Admiralty under an obligation to provide the timber, and, if not, to compensate the people concerned? If a private firm—

If a private firm carried out such a transaction, it would be looked upon as fraudulent. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to do anything about it?

I am afraid I cannot remember all that was said, but I can say that no definite undertaking was given to anybody at all with regard to the supply of timber for the conversion of these landing craft to houseboats. I should be glad to receive from the hon. Gentleman the number of ex-Servicemen who are losing their gratuities as the result of investing their money in this way.

Devonport Dockyard (Electricity Undertaking)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he will give particulars of the electricity undertaking in His Majesty's dockyard at Devonport, including details of the generating equipment and of the maximum production by each generating unit.

As the answer to this Question contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Details of the generating equipment, excluding the maximum production in kilowatts of each generating unit installed at the Generating Station at Devonport Dockyard, are:


  • 4–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boilers new in 1928.
  • 1–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boiler new in 1930.
  • 1–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boiler new in 1932.
  • 2–25,000 lbs. of steam per hour Yarrow boilers new in 1936.

Generating sets.

  • 1–600 Kilowatt Belliss&Morcom steam reciprocating set new in 1907.
  • 2–1,200 Kilowatt Willans-Robinson steam reciprocating sets new in 1911.
  • 1–1,650 Kilowatt Brush-Longstrom turbo alternator new in 1919.
  • —1–1,650 Kilowatt Brush-Longstrom turbo alternator new in 1920.
  • 2–3,750 Kilowatt Parsons turbo alternators new in 1928.
  • 1–3,750 Kilowatt Parsons turbo alternator new in 1937.

The three steam reciprocating sets are uneconomical in steam consumption, and, in view of this, combined with their considerable age, they are retained only as a standby plant for use in an emergency when the turbo alternators are out of action. The boiler capacity does not permit of their concurrent use. In these circumstances, the total nominal output of the generating sets is restricted to the output available from the turbo alternators. The nominal maximum output for the station as a whole is, therefore, 14,550 kilowatts. The maximum effective output at the present time is less than this on account of the age of most of the plant and the lower grades of coal which have to be used. Allowance must also be made for plant undergoing repairs or overhaul. In addition to the above, there are two connections, one of 10,000 K.V.A. and the other of 5,000 K.V.A. between the electricity supply systems of the Plymouth Corporation and the Dockyard.