HC Deb 11 February 1897 vol 46 cc172-3
MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, with regard to the experiment carried out at Woolwich Arsenal, on the 2nd instant, with cordite, what were the exact weights of cordite, used, how were the packages constructed, and of what material or materials; how were the cases arranged, and at what distances apart; who suggested the experiment, and who authorised it; what was it intended to prove, what did it prove, and what were the exact results; and whether, in any of Her Majesty's ships having guns especially constructed for the use of cordite, any cordite is carried?


It is neither desirable nor usual to give the details of experiments which are carried out for special purposes with warlike stores. The experiments on the 2nd instant were a series made at Woolwich with different amounts of cordite packed in wooden boxes, in metal-lined boxes, and metal cases. These experiments were made under the authority of the Inspector-General of Ordnance at the suggestion of the Committee on Dangerous Buildings, and were carried on under the supervision of the Ordnance Committee. The object was to ascertain what would be the result of cordite becoming ignited when stored under different conditions. The results of the experiments have so far afforded valuable information—[laughter]—and further experiments will take place with a view of determining points that have arisen in connection with the safe storage of cordite. Her Majesty's ships carry cordite charges.


inquired whether the hon. Gentleman could tell them what the results of the experiments showed except the blowing up of a church. [Laughter.]


was informed that that was not one of the results. Perhaps it might be arranged that the hon. Member should be present at the next explosion. [Laughter.]