HC Deb 24 April 1963 vol 676 c195
7. Mr. Paget

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will institute a control system at Larkhill which will enable the Army to ascertain in future what happens to shells which miss the target area.

Mr. Profumo

To prevent shells landing outside the target area we already take stringent precautions in the loading and laying of the guns. There have recently been two revisions of the standing orders for the range, and I hope that the new orders, which are most comprehensive, will prevent further accidents.

Mr. Paget

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am not complaining of his dropping a shell on a neighbouring town? Accidents can happen in the best regulated circles. What I am complaining of is the right hon. Gentleman's incapacity to discover where the shell came from. That seems to argue indifferent range control.

Mr. Profumo

I would agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman if he were not learned. If he has read the case—and I shall show it to him if he has not—he will know that there was a conflict of evidence and, although the Army thought it knew where the shell came from, the man who watched the shell land gave evidence which was wholly in conflict and we had to believe his evidence.