MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty has he now received the Report, called for by the Admiralty on 11th May, 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 118 was 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 overall 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.
I gave the hon. Member an undertaking that I would inform him as soon as the Report on this subject was received. That undertaking I will not fail to carry out, but I believe that Sunday next is the earliest date at which it will be possible to receive the Report of the Commander-in-Chief from Alexandria.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I will postpone the Question till June 9. It was not want of confidence in the hon. Gentleman's undertaking that induced me to put it to-day.