February 11, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)

CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

I accept the correction. I want to tell the hon. gentleman that in

both particulars his information is absolutely wrong. From personal knowledge I know that'those ships have, ever since the 4th of August, been constantly patrolling the straits of Juan de Fuca and protecting the entrance waters to Victoria and Vancouver-two cities which, I may say in passing, are, at least in my opinion, finer than any he has in his native province.
Now in regard to the quality of those ships. The hon. gentleman says they are obsolete. I want to tell my hon. friend the facts as they have been given to me. We were extremely fortunate on the Pacific coast in that we had residing amongst us a number of retired Royal Naval officers. One in particular who is to-day in command of the two submarines and of the parent ship, the Shearwater, is a lieutenant who happened to have had six years' experience in submarines on the North Sea. He had only retired from the Royal Navy twelve months ago; in fact so recent was his service in the Royal Navy that he was not even on the retired list. He *was on what is called the active leave list. Directly war was impending and before it was declared, he was ordered to report to the nearest naval station which happened to be at Esquimalt. The senior naval officer in command there, Lieut. Pilcher, immediately told him that he wished him to stay for the present as he needed his services. That was before he had any knowledge that there was any possibility of obtaining the submarines at all. Lieut. Bertram Jones is the gentleman's name. When it was decided to purchase these ships Lieut. Jones went out and brought the ships in. Lieut. Jones overlooked these ships and he told me himself, personally, that they were better and more modern submarines that any he had ever served on, and he had left the Royal Navy only twelve months ago. The day before I left Victoria to come to Ottawa to attend the present session I had the pleasure of going on board the submarines. I may inform my hon. friend that neither of these submarines was in the dry dock. They were lying in Esquimalt harbour beside the parent ship. Lieut. Jones, the officer in command-and I want my hon. friend to realize that he is the man who goes out sailing these ships, who dives them and who risks his life in them-said to me when he took me over them: I want you, when you go to Ottawa, to tell the admiralty authorities at Ottawa in what fine condition these vessels are. He pointed to the torpedo tubes and said: These tubes are loaded with war heads ready to go to

sea at any moment, we are prepared to do our be^t to account for anything that may come, and we can handle these vessels and handle them satisfactorily. That officer has not been allowed to leave these ships, or at least he had been allowed no shore leave for the past three or four weeks prior to when I left Victoria on account of some apprehension that occasion for the use of these vessels might arise.
In regard to the statement that these vessels have been placed in the dry-dock, I will venture to say without fear of contradiction, that with the exception of painting or cleaning, neither one of these vessels has been in the dry dock since they were purchased, and excepting also, as the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries has told us, during a couple of weeks back m November or the beginning of December when information was received by the local authorities that there was the possibility of a filibustering expedition or a bomb-dropping attack of some kind. As to the efficiency, the working and quality of these Ships, I say they are good and modern vessels, and vessels that will give a good account of themselves if they get the opportunity.
When these vessels came they were manned by men of the Royal Naval Volunteer Force, a force composed of citizen sailors of the town of Esquimalt and the city of Victoria, and I want to pay a well-deserved tribute to the valour and patriotism of the men who were prepared to go on board and undertake work of the most perilous kind in naval warfare-that is submarine work. They are entitled to the highest credit for the work they have done.
In regard to the facts concerning the purchase of these vessels, I know that my hon. friend from St. John is not nearly so much interested in the question of the efficiency of the ships as in the possibility of finding something wrong about the purchase. I can assure him that there was absolutely nothing that either he or anybody else could find any fault with in connection with the purchase of these vessels. On the 1st of August, which was a Saturday, the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell) happened to be in the city of Victoria. He was in my office about eleven o'clock in the morning when I received a telephone message from Sir Richard McBride. Sir Richard McBride told me that Captain Logan, who is the agent on the whole of the Pacific coast for Lloyds

underwriting agency, a very responsible citizen and a very upright man, was particularly anxious to see Mr. Burrell. Sir Richard McBride did not even say what he wanted to see him for, but he asked me if I would see that Captain Logan should get immediate access to Mr. Burrell if he came to my office. Of course I acceded to the request; Captain Logan came over, he saw Mr. Burrell and myself and he told us that there were these two submarines at Seattle that were available for purchase. Mr. Burrell and I, with Captain Logan, at once went to the naval yards at Esquimalt, where we found Lieutenant Pilcher in command. We told him about these submarines and asked him if they would be of advantage and if he thought it would be advisable to try and purchase them. He said that he thought it would. Thereupon the telegram which my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries has read to the House was seht. Mr. Burrell happened to be staying in my house, and next morning at half past three he and I were called to the naval yards with Captain Loga,n for a further conference with Lieutenant Pilcher on the question of the purchase of these submarines. It was arranged that Captain Logan should go over to Seattle that day and see what could be done. At the very first interview between Captain Logan, Mr. Burrell, myself and Mr. Pilcher, Captain Logan told us verbally that he thought the price would be about $375,000. In our presence he telephoned to Seattle, got Mr. Patterson, the man who had the control of the sale of these vessels in Seattle, and at that time Mr. Patterson told him over the telephone that the price would be $575,000 apiece or $1,150,000 for the two.
The price was stated in the presence of Mr. Burrell, Lieutenant Pilcher and myself. There was never any question as to what the price was to be; it was absolutely settled at that time. A telegram was sent to Ottawa-

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   FISHING BOUNTIES.
Full View