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Her Majesty's Yacht "Britannia"

Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1954

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will make a statement giving technical details of the S.Y. "Britannia" in view of the prestige associated with the building of this yacht.

Full details of the yacht have already been made public, but I will send a copy to the hon. Member. The only additional information that I need give is that she has a gross tonnage of 5,769 tons and is driven by four steam turbines geared to two shafts, giving a cruising speed of 21 knots. The performance of the yacht on trials gave complete satisfaction.

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that applications by the technical and the national Press to view the vessel have been turned down? Why a/re we not taking every opportunity to tell the world of this engineering triumph and of the skill of British shipbuilders? In these difficult days, is it not necessary to allow the Press to see the vessel? Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman bear in mind that the Service should not always be the "Silent Service ".

If the hon. Member reads the details that I have given him, which were published very fully in the Press in April last year, I think he will agree that we have given very full details to the world. However, I will certainly go into the point that he raised about visits.

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether their Lordships are satisfied with the performance of this vessel in view of the alterations that have taken place.

Purely as a matter of information, will my hon. and gallant Friend say whether this vessel should be referred to as "H.M.S." or as "S.Y.," as printed on the Order Paper.

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman agree that if any prestige value attaches to the construction of the yacht, its ugly appearance detracts from it.