HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2265-6W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can now make any further statements as to the recent accidents to Lance-sergeant Cowan, 5th Devons, at Bisley Camp, and the late Sergeant Thomson, Glasgow Battery, 3rd Lowland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, at Budden, respectively?

Colonel SEELY

In the case of the accident to Sergeant Cowan, the only way in which the mishap can be accounted for is that a misfire occurred, and on extracting the cartridge the bullet was left in the chamber of the rifle; that when the next cartridge was inserted in the chamber the bullet was forced into the case by the bullet already in the barrel; on firing, the case gave way near the base owing to the high presssure caused by the weight of the two bullets, and the escaping gases blew off part of the bolt-head. In the case of the accident to the late Sergeant Thomson, the end of the vent, to which is attached the tube-chamber bush and the nut securing it, was fractured; the end of the vent, with bush and nut, being blown off and striking Sergeant Thomson. This was a converted vent; all the new vents are made in one piece, and an accident of this kind is not likely to occur. All the converted vents stood proof charges without any failure, but in order to prevent any possibility of a recurrence of these accidents all practice with the vents of this type has been stopped.