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Army—Artillery And Rifles

Volume 203: debated on Monday 8 August 1870

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Motion For Returns

said, he rose to move for an Address for—

"Returns of the number of Field and of Horse Artillery Batteries at home, with the number of men and of horses attached to each Battery, and the number of men and of horses required to place each Battery in a condition for active service in the field; of the number of Field Guns in store; and of the number of sets of Harness in store."
He had also to move an Address for
"Returns of the number of Breech-loading Infantry Rifles produced since the adoption of the Snider breech-loading principle, giving the numbers obtained by the conversion of muzzle-loading rifles into breech-loaders; of the number obtained by the direct manufacture of Breech-loaders; of the number of Breech-loading Rifles issued to the regular troops and the reserve forces, specifying the number issued to each regiment; and of the number of Breech-loading Rifles of all descriptions now in store,"
He would take that opportunity of asking the hon. and gallant Member for Truro (Captain Vivian), whether he was in a position to give him any information on the subject of those Returns, and whether it was proposed to arm the Volunteers, who, in his opinion, had been badly treated in return for their services, with breech-loading rifles?

said, that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War having intimated to the hon. Member (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun) that he had no objection to the Returns he moved for being given, he did not think it necessary to enter in detail into the subject before the House. There were 10 batteries of Royal Horse Artillery and 20 field batteries, which gave a total force of this arm which was supposed to be sufficient for a force of 60,000 men. The Royal Horse Artillery batteries had each six guns and three waggons, 172 officers and men, and 112 horses, while the field batteries had six guns, six waggons, 180 officers and men, and 84 horses—making a total of 180 guns, to every one of which six trained horses were attached, four trained horses, which would be available for gun service, being attached to each waggon. The Director General of the Ordnance was of opinion that this was a larger force of artillery for a peace establishment than was maintained by any other country in the world. With respect to the reserves, they were amply sufficient to supply deficiencies. There were a number of batteries in store at Woolwich, which were now being overhauled and put in fresh order. With regard to the number of breech-loading firearms, the Se- cretary of State for War had more than once stated that there 300,000 in store. At the present moment there were 269,964 breech-loading rifles and 39,456 breech-loading carbines in store, making a total of upwards of 309,000. With regard to the supply of this arm to the Volunteer Force, he was sure he only expressed the opinion of his right hon. Friend when he said that no one more highly estimated the character and value of that force than he did, and it was from no disposition to underrate them that he had not put the Snider arm into their hands. His right hon. Friend had, at an earlier hour in the evening, stated that it was his intention to arm the Volunteer Force gradually with the Snider rifle; but, as that was a very valuable arm, it would be necessary that some rules and regulations should be framed for its safe and proper custody. When that was done a distribution would be made. Purchases of horses were being made to make up the required number for the Artillery.

Motion agreed to.

Address for "Returns of the number of Field and of Horse Artillery Batteries at home, with the number of men and of horses attached to each Battery, and the number of men and of horses required to place each Battery in a condition for active service in the field:"
"Of the number of Field Guns in store:"
"And, of the number of sets of Harness in store."—(Mr. Sinclair Aytoun.)
Address for "Returns of the number of Breech-loading Infantry Rifles produced since the adoption of the Snider breech-loading principle, giving the numbers obtained by the conversion of muzzle-loading rifles into breech-loaders:"
"Of the number obtained by the direct manufacture of Breech-loaders:"
"Of the number of Breech-loading Rifles issued to the regular troops and the reserve forces, specifying the number issued to each regiment:"
"And, of the number of Breech-loading Rifles of all descriptions now in store."—(Mr. Sinclair Aytoun.)

Parish Churches Bill

On Motion of Mr. WEST, Bill to declare and enact the Law as to the rights of Parishioners in respect of their Parish Churches; and for other purposes relating thereto, ordered to be brought in by Mr. WEST, Sir PERCY HERBERT, and Mr. THOMAS HUGUES.

Bill presented, and read the first time [Bill 263.]

House adjourned at Eight o'clock.