HC Deb 08 July 1959 vol 608 cc1337-8
22. Dr. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a house in Lee-on-Solent was recently damaged by some sort of a rocket projectile emanating from his firing range at Browndown; if he will now make a statement on this incident.

Mr. Soames

The condition of the missile rules out any possibility that it had just been fired from a rocket launcher. It was the centre portion of an anti-tank practice rocket, corroded with age and lacking its head and fins. The Browndown Range was in any case not in use that afternoon. Inquiries by the police and local military authorities have brought no evidence as to how this incident occurred.

Dr. Bennett

Will my right hon. Friend appreciate that it is at least some satisfaction to have had the matter thoroughly looked into, so far as we can go at the moment, whereas previous complaints from this part of Lee-on-the-Solent about explosions and other things on that range have usually been met by a statement from that Department that there were no such explosions?

Mr. Soames

I can assure my hon. Friend that the safety precautions on this range are most stringent. If ever there is a missile fired which does not explode, all firing ceases and there is an immediate search for the missile. This missile must have got where it was many years ago, judging by its condition, and I am afraid that I cannot tell him how it came about.