HC Deb 18 February 1904 vol 130 cc239-40
* MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, are the old sights of the "Centurion," which are correct, unfit for use in action because the man using them and firing the gun is 10 feet from the training and elevating gear, and is therefore unable to lay the gun himself; are the new telescopic sights of the ship, intended for use in action, also faulty, in consequence of their defective connection with the gun; did the captain of the "Excellent" refuse to pass all the turret sights, and declare the ship unfit to leave Portsmouth; is he aware that the telescopic sights can only be rectified by bringing the "Centurion" home and fitting new sights; and when do the Admiralty propose to do this.


The captain of the "Excellent" does not pass sights, he only makes a report to the Admiralty, with whom the decision rests. The remaining points raised in the Question are dealt with in Lord Selborne's letter to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, published in the Press yesterday.


But did the captain of the "Excellent" report the sights faulty and the ships therefore unfit to leave Portsmouth?


The captain of the "Excellent" makes a report generally to the Admiralty on all points. I cannot make public any confidential reports.