MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, has he now received the Report on the alleged waste of ammunition in the Mediterranean Fleet on 29th April last by eight battleships firing away over 7,000 rounds at distances and under conditions depriving the practice of utility as gunnery training for accuracy in marksmanship; what was† See page 1357.1633 the range at which the practice was conducted, the time it took, and the number and approximate value of the rounds fired; in what respects did this practice depart from the Admiralty regulation that the attainment of good shooting and proficiency in gunnery are always to be considered as taking precedence over all other duties; by whom was this practice ordered and its conditions prescribed, and by whom has the Report thereon been made; in view of the practice which had been adopted on 14th May last that the reasons of failure in gunnery practice are reported on by the admirals under whose orders the ships are acting, that the Reports are considered by the Admiralty, and such steps taken with regard to the individual officers concerned as in the opinion of the Admiralty are required, will he say whether any, and if so, what steps have been, or will be taken, in this case.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD-FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
As I stated in my reply on the 13th inst., † a Report on this subject has been called for, but owing to the Commander-in-Chief having proceeded from Malta to Alexandria sufficient time has not yet elapsed for the Report to be received. I must therefore ask my hon. friend to kindly postpone the Question for a few days longer.