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Army—Breech-Loaders For The Volunteers—Question

Volume 203: debated on Monday 25 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether any, and, if any, how many Militia Regiments in Great Britain are still unsupplied with the Snider Enfield Rifle; whether in his opinion the time has not arrived when energetic steps should be taken to supply the whole of the Militia and, after them, the Volunteers, with breech-loading rifles; and, further, whether it is or is not a fact that 60, 000 rifles have been lying useless at the Tower since February last, when a question upon this subject was asked by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire?

Sir, 51 regiments of Militia are still unsupplied with breech-loaders: 61,000 breechloaders have been issued to the Reserve Forces—Snidors and Westley Richards carbines—arming 64 regiments of Militia, and 25 of Yeomanry, and all the permanent staff of the Militia, including Ireland. I am of opinion that it is expedient to arm the rest of the Militia, and after them the Volunteers, as rapidly as our stock will enable us; but I do not share the opinion that a reserve is useless of an article which you desire to have ready for use upon occasion.