§ MR. G. W. NICHOLSON (Hants, Petersfield)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a great deal of the 1892 cordite ammunition, issued to the Hampshire Militia at Brown down in May last, was very defective; that at least fifty rounds missed fire, and in two instances the cartridges, after having missed fire, exploded when the rifles were brought 1597 down to the ready position; that during the musketry practice, at distances from 100 to 300 yards, bullets were picked up apparently intact between the firing point and the targets; that two bullets were found in the canvas target; and that others were picked up between the targets and the stop-butt, although the mean extreme range of the Lee-Metford bullet is given in the Musketry Instruction, I896 edition, paragraph 423, as 3,500 yards; whether this I892 cordite ammunition was reported as defective at Portsmouth in 1895; and, whether he will order an Inquiry to be held to ascertain the condition of this I892 cordite ammunition, and, if necessary, prevent its further issue?
§ MR. BRODRICK
Complaints have been received from Portsmouth to the effect of the statements in the hon. Member's Question. This ammunition was tested in 1895 and found to be quite serviceable, although shooting a little low. A further Inquiry into its condition has now been ordered, and no more issues will be made until the result of the Inquiry is known.