HC Deb 23 June 1915 vol 72 cc1155-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether there is a laboratory equipped for research in respect of explosives; and, if so, what is the number of chemists regularly employed; and whether the full staff engaged upon research work has been regularly employed during the past six months?


The answer to the first and last parts of the question is in the affirmative. The number engaged is seventeen.

18. Mr. E. JONES

asked whether any and, if so, what communications have been made to learned societies such as the Royal Society, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, etc., or to the universities inviting them to concentrate their scientific efforts upon the chemical and mechanical problems that may assist us in this war of scientific devices and inventions?


I cannot set out in detail all the communications which have taken place with the Royal Society, the National Physical Laboratory, the universities, and other bodies, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the War Office has derived great benefit from the discussions and from the advice and information received, and I would take this opportunity of conveying to these scientific and learned bodies the thanks of the Army Council.

19. Mr. E. JONES

asked whether there is a chemical laboratory attached to the War Office for research in relation to the properties and effects of gases, oils, and dangerous fluids; if so, will he say what is the equipment of the laboratory; what is the number of chemists employed; and what are the chemical qualifications of the superintendents of the laboratory?


The laboratories of the War Office Research Department are available for the purpose mentioned, and I may add that practically all the laboratories in the country have been placed at the disposal of the War Office. There is a large chemical staff of highly qualified men.

20. Mr. E. JONES

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he can state the names of the scientists who have been consulted or employed by the War Office since the beginning of the War, together with the occasions and subjects upon which they were consulted?


A great many leading scientists have been consulted, but to draw up the names, occasions, and subjects would involve considerable labour.

21. Mr. E. JONES

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether there is a Department of the War Office for considering and testing inventions; if so, what is the number of officials regularly employed; and what are the technical qualifications of the principal officers in the Department?


A Department of the War Office receives and, in consultation with the appropriate technical officers in other branches, considers all proposals for inventions which have possible military value. These branches have at their disposal various special committees such as the Ordnance Board which deals with Artillery inventions, the Royal Engineer Committee for engineer stores; Lord Rayleigh's Advisory Committee on aeronautics, and the special sub-committee of the Royal Society.


Will all these bodies remain under the War Office?


The Department which is responsible for inventions will no doubt remain under the War Office. The other bodies, as my hon. Friend knows, are independent bodies.