I will give the House all the information which I possess. The first telegram which was received by the Admiralty has already appeared in the stop press of the evening papers. It was from the Rear-Admiral at Gibraltar, and was to this effect:
Secretary of Admiralty announces message received from Rear-Admiral, Gibraltar:
Regret report submarine H42 rammed by H.M.S. "Versatile" 9.30 a.m. to-day.
Was exercising off Europa Point.
H42 feared total loss with all hands in 500 fathoms.
Names officers and men will be issued soon as possible.
Since then a further telegram has been received from Gibraltar stating that a court of inquiry has been ordered for to-morrow, and giving a list of the crew.
I do not, of course, propose to publish these names until the relatives have been communicated with. A very short time ago the following telegram was received:
The only further details yet known are as follows: Submarine H42 came to the surface 30 to 40 yards ahead of 'Versatile,' which was steaming 20 knots, and rammed submarine just abaft conning tower at right angles. No spare officers or men were in H42.
I should like to take this opportunity of expressing the most heartfelt sympathy of the Board of Admiralty and of the Government with the relatives, and their deep regret at the loss of so many gallant lives. I am sure that the House and the country would wish to associate themselves with this expression of sympathy.