HC Deb 22 February 1886 vol 302 cc882-3

asked the Secretary of State for War, If the statement about Cavalry swords in The Times of the 16th instant is authoritative; if so, can he state why the contractor should apply for leave to use German steel when our own factory at Enfield found no difficulty in obtaining English steel; whether the application had been refused; whether it is a fact that, in addition to the blades coming from Germany, the hilts and scabbards were also made and fitted there; whether, in future, he will take care the swords are made in England, as, according to the War Office statement, there is no difficulty in obtaining suitable steel in Sheffield; and, whether he will issue the promised Report at once as so many swords and bayonets have proved defective?


Yes, Sir; the statement referred to is authoritative. The contractor stated that he was unable to complete the number of swords he had to supply without, to some extent, em- ploying Solingen blades, and applied for permission to do so. This permission has been granted, as his contract only binds him to supply swords which shall stand certain tests. The order which was given from the War Office to Solingen to complete the required quantity which could not be obtained in England is for swords with scabbards complete. Orders for swords have not been given, and will not be given, to the foreign trade when the number required within a given time can be procured from the home trade aided by the Government factory at Enfield. The promised Report will not be complete until all the swords and bayonets shall have been tested, which we hope will be accomplished in a few weeks.