HC Deb 09 July 1936 vol 314 c1399

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any information to give the House as to the explosion that occurred at Woolwich Arsenal on Wednesday, 8th July?


I very much regret to have to announce that an explosion occurred in the Research Department at the Royal Arsenal yesterday shortly before 3 p.m., when an experiment was in progress regarding the filling of a high-explosive shell. One naval officer, and four civilian members of the Research Department staff, lost their lives, while one other member of the Department who was, however, not in the danger-building itself, was injured. The cause of the explosion is now in course of investigation, and a Court of Inquiry has been convened. The building involved was in a special danger area, and though it was completely wrecked the other activities of the Research Department and the Royal Arsenal have not been interfered with. I am sure that the House will wish me to express its sympathy with the families and relatives of these officials, who lost their lives in the performance of their duty.


While thanking the right hon. Member for his statement and for his expression of sympathy with the relatives, I will at a convenient moment raise the question again as to what the Government propose to do for the relatives of the deceased, and also as to what steps can be taken to prevent a recurrence of the accident.