HC Deb 14 April 1887 vol 313 cc884-5
CAPTAIN COLOMB (Tower Hamlets, Bow, &c.)

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the Colony of Singapore has constructed defensive works to the value of £81,000, on the understanding that these works would be provided with suitable armaments by the Imperial Government; whether the medium guns, which have been supplied by our Imperial Government, are 7-inch 6½-ton muzzle-loaders; whether these guns are of the earliest type of built-up Woolwich ordnance; whether experiments have shown these guns to be bad shooting guns; whether considerable difficulty is experienced in providing sufficiently rapid under-cover loading; whether 6-inch breech-loading guns are in course of being supplied as medium guns to Hong Kong; and, whether it is intended to substitute 6-inch breechloaders for the 7-inch muzzle-loaders at Singapore; and, if so, when?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

As already stated, the Colony of Singapore has practically completed its share of the arrangement, and the Imperial Government will have supplied almost all the guns by the end of the present year. The original Estimate for the guns was £83,700, which has since been increased, in order to provide more effective armament, to £118,000. The medium guns are 7-inch muzzle-loaders of the early Woolwich type. They wore already on the spot, and some have been utilized as an auxiliary armament for ranges within those covered by the breech-loading guns, compared to which they are no doubt inferior shooting-guns. These guns are placed behind, and fire over, six-feet parapets, which afford a fair amount of protection, and the question of further protection is under consideration. Six-inch guns are in course of supply to Hong Kong; but as Singapore has received four 8-inch breech-loading guns, in addition to the armament originally proposed, it is not considered necessary to add any 6-inch guns.