Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1913.djvu/89

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lxxxiii
ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS

of work on ships already under construction, and 2,052,400 £. for beginning work on ships of the new programme, which is composed as follows:—

5 Battleships,

8 Light Armoured Cruisers,

16 Destroyers; and a number of submarines and subsidiary craft.

The total estimated cost of the new programme is 15,958,525 £.

Between the 1st April, 1912, and the 31st March, 1913, the following ships will have been completed and become available for service:—

4 Battleships (King George V., Centurion, Thunderer, Conqueror).

3 Battle Cruisers (Lion, Princess Royal, New Zealand).

5 Light Cruisers (Chatham, Dublin, Southampton, Amphion, Melbourne. The last is for Australia).

15 Destroyers.

3 Submarines; and 3 other vessels.

On the 1st of April, 1913, there were to be under construction:—

11 Battleships (including Malaya).

3 Battle Cruisers (including one for Australia).

13 Light Cruisers (including one for Australia).

25 Torpedo Boat Destroyers.

21 Submarines (including two for Australia).

A number of vessels for carrying oil fuel and for various Fleet purposes.

The Malaya is the first-class armoured ship offered by the Malay States to the Imperial Government.

Two large floating docks, capable of taking any war vessel now building or likely to be designed, have been completed and delivered for Portsmouth and the Medway. A small floating dock for destroyers has been completed and placed at Harwich, and one for submarines to be stationed ultimately at Dover, has been completed.

The principal development of Imperial naval policy during the year 1912–13 has been in Canada. Mr. Borden and other members of the Canadian Cabinet visited London to confer with the Admiralty. On their invitation the Admiralty prepared a statement of the present and immediate prospective requirements of the naval defence of the Empire for the consideration of the Canadian Government. Mr. Borden has since announced in the Canadian House of Commons the decision of his Government to propose the grant to the Crown of 7,000,000 £. for the immediate construction of three of the most modern type of armoured ships. It is intended to place these ships at the disposal of the Imperial Government for the common defence of the Empire, to be controlled and maintained as part of the Royal Navy. Mr. Borden added: "If at any time in the future it be the will of the Canadian people to establish a Canadian unit of the British Navy, these vessels can be called by the Canadian Government to form part of the Navy, in which case, of course, they will be maintained by Canada and not by Great Britain." This measure is still under discussion in the Canadian Parliament (April, 1913).

Aviation.

Military wing.—One airship squadron and three aeroplane squadrons have been formed as part of the military wing of the Royal Flying Corps. The total strength of this wing and the Central Flying School, including officers holding certificates but not as yet admitted to the school, and Reserve officers, is now (March, 1913) 126 officers and 680 men, of whom 123 officers and 8 men are qualified aeroplane fliers. Two more aeroplane squadrons are to be raised in 1913–14, and two more subsequently. The airship squadron has three dirigible airships. Each aeroplane squadion has 18 aeroplanes. The War Office has at present (March 1913) 101 aeroplanes, and expects to have 148 by the end of May. A Special Reserve of the Royal Flying Corps will be formed consisting of (a) men who enlist for four years and perform a short annual training, and (b) skilled mechanics already employed in the aeroplane industry, who will do no military training in peace but will undertake for an annual bounty to come up on mobilisation. The net Army provision for Aviation in 1913–14, excluding land and guns, is £ 501,000.

Naval wing.—The development of the naval wing of the Royal Flying Corps is progressing rapidly, and an Air Department has been created at the Admiralty to deal with all questions affecting the air services. Good progress has been made with the aeroplane section at Eastchurch, and close attention is being given to the establishment of air stations along the coast. The progress with the hydro-aeroplane has been satisfactory. The work of training has been and is proceeding steadily both at the Central Flying School and Eastchurch.

The needs of the airship section of the naval wing are also being closely studied, and a naval airship station is being established in the Medway. By arrangement with the War Office, officers and men have been trained at Farnborough with the military airship and kite squadrons. Two airships of the Astra Torres and Parseval types have been purchased

for instructional and experimental purposes.

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