HC Deb 19 February 1953 vol 511 c170W
Mr. W. J. Edwards

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he now has any further information about the explosions which occurred at Bedenham and Gibraltar on 14th July, 1950, and 27th April, 1951, respectively.

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

The precise causes of these explosions are not known, nor are they ever likely to be established beyond doubt. Investigations at the time into the first explosion produced strong presumptive evidence that it was due to sabotage. It is still not possible to rule out sabotage as a possible cause of either incident. Both explosions started from the ignition of depth charges and consequently a team of scientists was assigned to examine the composition of these charges. Their researches have shown that the combination of a certain type of filling, container and interior coating can produce phenomena similar to those observed when the explosions took place. These chemical reactions, which were of course not known to those responsible for earlier inquiries, now make it probable that both explosions were accidental. All precautions to prevent a recurrence have been taken.