§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for 688 War whether the Mark IV. missile is affected by temperature in its initial action, and is liable to develop an abnormal pressure and to detonation within the barrel, instead of exploding; and, if so, whether he will consider the propriety of not supplying this ammunition for Volunteer rifle competitions in hot weather. I beg also to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the Mark IV. missile had to be replaced by another bullet at the Bisley shooting on Tuesday owing to the danger which was involved in the use of this newly adopted service cartridge by the Volunteer marksmen; and whether he can see his way to place samples of the missile in question in the Tea Room for the inspection of Members of this House. I beg further to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he will institute an inquiry into the alleged bad behaviour of the Mark IV. missile at the Bisley rifle ranges, and particularly into the statements that such a cartridge would be most dangerous for those using it in tropical regions; and whether the War Department will reconsider its action in supplying this bullet to the troops now serving in South Africa.
§ * MR. WYNDHAM
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to answer his three questions at the same time. The Mark IV. ammunition was used by several battalions of British troops at Omdurman, and was reported on favourably. There is, therefore, no reason to believe that the bullet is affected by temperature in its initial action, or that the cordite charge is liable to detonate. A report has been called for on the accidents which occurred at Bisley, and in the meantime other ammunition has been supplied to the Volunteers. This bullet has been proved by the firing of many thousands of rounds at Woolwich, and will continue to be issued unless the present inquiry should reveal some unsuspected defect. I shall be happy to place some of these bullets in the Tea Room.
§ MR. DILLON
Is it a fact, as stated in The Times, that the bullet which is intended to expand only on striking has shown an inconvenient tendency to expand before leaving the rifle?