HC Deb 21 September 1915 vol 74 cc305-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if, while German riflemen employed as sharpshooters are invariably supplied with telescopic sights by their Government, British riflemen similarly employed are not so provided; if he is aware that British officers have, in many cases out of their own pockets, provided telescopic sights for their men; and if he will take steps to have our sharpshooters adequately equipped in this respect?


Every effort has been made to supply telescopic rifle sights, and every known source of supply of suitable patterns has been investigated and utilised. A large number have already been sent to the various theatres of war. I am aware that officers have provided themselves with some of these sights, as their purchases have competed with the War Office supply and interfered with the distribution, which has been, and it is thought should be, left in the hands of the Commander-in-Chief in the field.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take some steps to make that known to officers; and may I ask whether he supposes that officers would supply those instruments out of their own pockets if they thought they would be supplied by the Government?


It is just one of those cases where there is difficulty in obtaining a complete supply, and each person going off on his own bent to secure that supply is apt to interfere with the central authority, who are, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman is, desirous of securing an adequate supply.

22. Mr. McNEILL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that private appeals are being made for money to provide periscopes for the Royal Artillery at the front, and that such appeals are supported by statements by Artillery officers that a large proportion of casualties among gunners are due to the lack of these instruments; and if he will say why this essential part of Artillery equipment is not supplied by the Government?


As many periscopes, suitable for Artillery, as can be procured are being sent out to the various fronts.