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The 1909 Hansard Trawl - featuring super dreadnoughts, the sexism of the Labour party and 'the insuperable hostility of farmers'

Prepare to feel wistful:

Mr. RENTON  asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will say how many officials, established and non-established, including non-pensionable employés, were in the service of the Home Office on the 31st March, 1906, and on 30th June, 1909, respectively?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) The numbers of officials paid from the Home Office Vote on the dates stated were as follows: On 31st March, 1906, established, 297; non-established, 116. On 30th June, 1909, established, 377; non-established, 157.
Then again, that is a staff hike of nigh on 30% in three years.  Liberals, eh?

Not beasts and super beasts, but dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts:

Captain FABER asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state the period which has taken place between the laying of the keel of the last German super-"Dreadnought" and the launch of the same?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna) I am not aware to which ship the hon. and gallant Member refers under the name of "super-'Dreadnought.'"

McKenna was being wilfully obtuse, knowing full well that Faber was referring to the Helgoland class, qv.  And here she is:

Handsome, no?  And what made them super?  "The design was a significant improvement over the previous Nassau-class ships; they had a larger main batttery—30.5 cm (12.0 in) main guns instead of the 28 cm (11 in) weapons mounted on the earlier vessels—and an improved propulsion system.[2] The Helgolands were easily distinguished from the preceding Nassaus by the three funnels that were closely arranged, compared to the two larger funnels of the previous class".  Source

Faber was not doing well today:

Captain FABER asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will state why Rear-Admiral Sturdee, who was appointed admiral in September, 1908, has since that date been passed over for promotion by four officers junior to himself?

Mr. McKENNA The hon. and gallant Gentleman is in error in supposing that Rear-Admiral Sturdee has been passed over for promotion. On reaching the top of the Rear-Admiral's list he will be promoted in due course.
Presumably Faber was put up to this by Sturdee or one of Sturdee's mates, so I imagine they all felt pretty foolish after that. Sturdee did indeed get his just deserts and commanded the fleet that sank Admiral Graf Spee's fleet at the Battle of the Falklands.  For which he deserves to be better known, frankly.

Sticking with matters nautical, but adding in a dash of the sacred:

Mr. T. M. HEALY asked the Secretary of State for War whether the "Soudan" transport left Malta for China on 23rd September with the Inniskilling Fusiliers and other troops, of whom, in the Fusiliers alone, 300 were Catholics; whether many of the men were married and accompanied by their families; whether, contrary to usage, no Catholic chaplain sailed with the transport; whether the Catholic officers on board complained of the disappointment of their men; whether the presence of clergymen with large bodies of soldiers has been found, both in war and peace, conducive to discipline and good conduct; and what is the explanation of the departure from usage in this case?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Acland)  The statements in the first two parts of the hon. and learned Member's question are substantially correct. As regards the third and sixth parts, I must explain that owing to the extended character of the voyages taken and the constant changes in the personnel of the troops on board, it is not the practice of the War Department to place chaplains on board transports conveying Colonial reliefs. As regards the fourth and fifth parts, no complaints have been brought to my notice in this instance, but it is no doubt the case that the presence of clergymen with large bodies of soldiers is conducive, but by no means necessary, to discipline and good conduct, and the Department endeavours to arrange for their presence wherever practicable.

Well, well, well....

And so to the *outrageous* sexism of the Labour Party:

Mr. KEIR HARDIE ...whether he has been informed that Miss Ainsworth...alleges that a steel instrument was used to force open the mouth of those women who have had to be fed by force, and a cork gag was inserted to keep the mouth open;...

Mr. BELLOC Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question I wish to ask whether in this matter anything different has been done to women from what has been done to men in times past without protest from any part of this House?

The HOME SECRETARY (Mr. Gladstone) Of course the treatment has been applied to men without demur. As regards the question put by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, I only received it ten minutes ago. Perhaps he will be good enough to put it on the Paper.

And so to mystery o' the day:  Lights on Vehicles Act

Mr. H. A. WATT asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he has had any complaints as to the working of the Lights on Vehicles Act of 1907; have the farmers affected by it lodged any objection to its clauses with his Department...

Mr. GLADSTONE I beg to answer this question on behalf of my right hon. Friend, as the Home Office is the central authority under the Lights on Vehicles Act, 1907. I have received only one objection to the Act from farmers; this was made before the Act came into operation,

Mr. WATT May I ask whether the so-called insuperable hostility of the farmers has been entirely overcome?

Mr. GLADSTONE I do not know anything about the insuperable hostility of the farmers.

Why would the tillers of the earth and the herders of cattle have a problem with lights on vehicles?  Answers in the comments please.

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Blogger Pavlov's Cat said... 6:30 pm

Re: Rear-Admiral Sturdee
I believe still in 1909 elevation to Admiral was still a matter of dead man’s shoes. Although getting on the Admirals list could be done by influence & favours

The Jack Aubrey novels by Patrick O'Brien, chronicle in part the machinations of the Admiralty which seem not to have changed by 1909

So whilst they may have been junior in service time to Rear-Admiral Sturdee they were perhaps placed on the list before him.

All this led to the old toast “Here’s to bloody battles and sickly seasons” as it was the only way for advancement in both the Navy and the Army  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:33 pm

PC - Thanks for the insight.  

Blogger Pavlov's Cat said... 3:09 pm

Re lights on vehicles.

I wa sintrigued and had a quick google, it appears that the debate on the actual act in 1907 was quite fraught.

It seems they thought the main objection by farmers would be that placing an oil lamp at the back of a wagon load of hay or other flammable goods was not a wise move.

Hansard Lights On Vehicles bill 1907 2nd reading

It interesting to note that by 1907 the RAC already had 15,000 members  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:16 pm

PC - I can see the point the farmers were making. I had been thinking that they would have been electric lights and the worst they could do would be to to disturb sleeping herds.

Anyway, thanks for the digging. I tried searching from within Hansard and gave up in despair.  

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