§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can state the number of desertions from H.M.S. Icarus since she has been under Commander Annesley, and the number of punishments inflicted on members of the crew; and whether any complaints have reached him as to the discipline on board the vessel, and what course, if any, the Admiralty will take in the matter?
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
Commander Annesley was appointed to the Icarus on July 6, 1886. The total number of desertions between July 1, 1886, and September 30, 1889, was 28. During the same period the total number of summary punishments awarded was 619, and there have been three court-martial cases. No complaints as to the discipline on board have been received at the Admiralty, but I shall be quite ready to look into any facts that the hon. Gentleman may have in his possession.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH
May I ask whether the noble Lord has seen the statement in the Western Morning News, asserting that since Juno, 1888, the punishments have been greatly in excess of any former period, and that the complaint is not limited to the men, but includes some of the officers as well. Under these circumstances, will the noble Lord have an inquiry made, as I understand the vessel is about to arrive at Plymouth?
§ *LORD G. HAMILTON
I do not attach much importance to newspaper reports, but if the hon. Member will place me in possession of his information, I shall feel it my duty to have an inquiry made.
§ *MR. BRADLAUGH
I will submit to the noble Lord the substance of some of the statements which have reached me, and which, I think, warrant the questions I have put.