§ MR. BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary for War whether, during the recent annual practice of D, E, and J Batteries, R.H.A., at Okehampton, out of the eighteen new 12-pounder cordite grins of 6 cwt. that were employed, no less than eleven of them became useless after firing only a few rounds, owing to broken elevating gear; whether these three batteries, D, E, and J, are the first for service in the First Army Corps; and whether, at Shoeburyness, a year ago, the Commanding Officer of one of these batteries made a strong report as to similar accidents which were happening then from the same cause?
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS,) Birmingham, S.
It is the case that eleven of the nuts of the elevating gear in D, E, and J Batteries, R.H.A., broke during firing at the recent annual practice. These nuts were made of phosphor bronze, and until last year no instance of failure occurred, although tried for two years. When one broke last year it was not considered sufficient to condemn all those in use with the new Horse Artillery equipment. As, however, there appeared to be some doubt of the phosphor bronze standing, a number of nuts of manganese bronze were manufactured to replace them if necessary. When the recent failures occurred these manganese nuts were put on, and should they prove satisfactory, the whole of the guns will be provided with them. By the fracture of this nut the gun is only temporarily out of action till the broken nut has been replaced by the battery artificers. The three batteries alluded to are in the First Army Corps.