HC Deb 07 June 1887 vol 315 cc1226-7
MR. HANBURY (Preston)

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he has received the Report as to the sword bayonets of the City of London Artillery Volunteers; and whether an order has been issued to the Commanding; Officers of Volunteer regiments forbidding them to test their bayonets; and, if so, why?

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

A Report has been received from Colonel Hope, the officer commanding the 1st City of London Artillery Volunteers, from which it appears that 19 sword bayonets belonging to that corps were tested, some by being thrust into a bundle of cotton waste, surrounded by from four to six inches of straw, and some by being bent against the ground. As these weapons were, by direction of the Military Authorities, not sharpened in peace time, there is nothing surprising in their bending under the first test; while as regards the second test, the pressure may, for all we know, have been more severe than the weapon could or ought to sustain. Orders have been issued that Commanding Officers of Volunteers are not to apply to the weapons of their corps arbitrary tests of their own selection. If any Commanding Officer doubts the efficiency of his weapons, he should ask that they may be properly tested by experts, instead of himself inventing and applying tests. Speaking generally, I may say that the bayonets of the Artillery Volunteers will be tested as soon as the retesting of those in the hands of the Militia have been completed. As regards the Infantry Volunteers, their bayonets are of an obsolete pattern, and it is not proposed to re-test them. They will be exchanged for bayonets of the Martini-Henry pattern as soon as sufficient are released from the Regular troops on the issue of the new rifle. I am anxious to make this clear, because some time must elapse before the exchange can be effected.