HC Deb 13 June 1890 vol 345 cc837-8
MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he intends placing upon the Table of the House an Objective Memorandum of the recent combined Naval and Military Manœuvres at Dover; and whether he has seen a letter in the Times from General Sir Andrew Clarke, in which he designates the manœuvres as senseless, and calculated, if followed by actual war, to lead to bloodshed and disaster— That vessels utterly unfitted for engaging in coast defence were permitted to remain for hours under a fire which would have annihilated them in 20 minutes, besides being engaged in other impracticable tactics.


The recent operations at Dover were designed by the Military Authorities, and the only part taken by the Admiralty was, at the request of the War Office, to direct the attendance of four of Her Majesty's ships on the occasion. I am, therefore, unable to lay before the House the "Objective Memorandum" referred to by the lion Member. No Official Report upon the manœuvres in question has yet been received by the Admiralty.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War how many troops, Regular and Auxiliary, were engaged in the recent combined Military and Naval Manœuvres at Dover; the position, calibre, and number of guns engaged in defending the town and fortifications against the naval attack; and the object of the manœuvres?

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

The object was to test, in a small degree, the working of a scheme of defence, and the conditions under which fire can be controlled and regulated according to recent orders. Practically, the garrison of Dover was employed in in the defence of that fortress against the troops at Shorncliffe, aided by a sea attack. Contingents of Militia and Volunteers took part in the operations. It would not be for the public interest that I should furnish particulars of the guns engaged.