HC Deb 12 June 1882 vol 270 cc815-6

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If the men serving on board H.M.S. "Swiftsure" had been trained, before leaving Plymouth, in the use of the new 25-pound breechloading gun; what trials had taken place with the 25-pound gun prior to the gun being appropriated for service afloat; and, whether precautionary mechanical arrangements are not adopted in that gun, as for some other breechloading guns, by which it is impossible for the gun to be fired before the breech is securely locked?


No, Sir. The men serving on board Her Majesty's Ship Swiftsure had not been trained before leaving Plymouth in the use of the new 25-pounder breechloading gun; but they had been trained with the old breech-loading gun, which is not so simple as the new one. As the Swiftsure was going to the Pacific for some years, the Admiralty was desirous of fitting her with these new guns, and this was done on the eve of her departure. It was considered that, as the mode of working them is extremely simple, the well-trained and intelligent seamen-gunners would have no difficulty in at once learning the drill, which was supplied to them. The guns have been tried at Woolwich and Shoeburyness, the trials extending over several months; and two are also mounted in a gunboat, from which 75 rounds have been fired. Those guns being radial-vented, no mechanical arrangement is fitted which prevents the gun being fired before the breech is securely closed; but there is an arrangement which shows at a glance when the breech is properly closed, and the gun ought not to be primed until this is done.