HC Deb 15 April 1902 vol 106 c277

I wish to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can give the House any information concerning this accident.


Information has been received from the Vice-Admiral commanding the Channel Fleet, and from the Rear-Admiral at Queens-town, with respect to this lamentable occurrence. It appears that while at gun practice a misfire took place in both the forward barbette guns of the "Mars." Orders were given to use the auxiliary firing circuit. Four minutes later an explosion took place in the port gun, by which the breech-block was blown to the rear, the projectile remaining in the gun. The Starboard gun remained unfired. Every one in the barbette was killed or wounded. I regret to say that the number of those who were killed, or have since succumbed to their injuries, is eleven, including Lieutenant James Bourne and Lieutenant Thomas Miller, and nine men. Mr. Geoffrey Cowlard, midshipman, and six petty officers and seamen were also injured, and are being treated in hospital at Queenstown. No explanation of the explosion can at present be given, but an inquiry has been ordered and will take place immediately.


Inquired if adequate provision would be made for the relatives of those who had been killed in the unfortunate accident.


That will be done, but the Question can perhaps be dealt with after longer notice.