HC Deb 23 May 1895 vol 34 cc108-9

I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office why the Militia are drilled with the Magazine rifle and shoot with the Martini, and whether representations have been made to him of the confusion which such an arrangement might cause on service; and when helmets will be issued to the force?


A temporary arrangement is necessary, owing to the ranges available being, in many cases, unsuitable for the Lee-Metford rifle. It is, however, very necessary that the Militia should learn to handle, and become familiar with, the mechanism of the new weapon, which they would use if mobilised. Therefore, they are drilled with the Lee-Metford; but, for want of long ranges, they have to shoot with Martini-Henry rifles. Next year it is intended to give them cartridges of reduced power, which can be fired on any range from Lee-Metford rifles. This will be another step in advance, though still short of the best possible training. As to helmets, 25,000 will be issued this year to the Militia. The 34 units which are to be trained with regulars or in camp are to be first supplied. Of these, 25 have already received their supply, and the remaining helmets will be issued with the least possible delay.


asked if the cartridges for the shorter range would be manufactured from cordite.


Yes, cordite.


I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is not aware that land can be purchased for long-range firing in the South-Eastern district at a low price, and with nothing alive near it except, possibly, the pea-bug?


replied that the War Office were alive to the need of accommodation, and were taking steps to provide it.

MR. W. E. M. TOMLINSON (Preston)

asked if it was intended to take measures to arm the Volunteers with the Lee-Metford rifle?


I think that hardly arises out of this question.