§ 2.36 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether any progress has been made in tracing the authors and causes of attempts at sabotage in British warships and dockyards.]
THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (LORD PAKENHAM)
My Lords, I am not clear exactly what the noble Lord has in mind. It has been stated on more than one occasion, in another place, that there is no evidence of organised sabotage in the Armed Forces. As far as the Royal Navy is concerned, most of the incidents which have occurred have consisted of malicious damage inspired by petty spite or individual grievances. Apart from the two ammunition explosions at Portsmouth and Gibraltar, any damage done has usually been minor. 34 A number of the culprits have been detected and punished.
§ LORD VANSITTART
My Lords, I am very glad to hear the latter part of the noble Lord's statement. I rather wish that that news had been made public. As to the responsibility in this matter, I recall that eleven days after the Portsmouth explosion the Prime Minister himself said that this had been caused by persons of evil intent with considerable scientific knowledge. That does not look like a haphazard or petty grievance matter.