HC Deb 25 November 1867 vol 190 cc164-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will lay upon the table of the House the Report of the Committee which have lately tested the Target known as the Gibraltar Shield; and whether thirty-four of these Shields had, previous to the trial, been sent to Gibraltar and other Fortresses in our Colonies?


had no objection to lay the Report on the table. The latter part of the Question of his lion, and gallant Friend was substantially true. Thirty of these shields had been sent to Malta and Gibraltar at the commencement of the present year, and four or five more were made with the intention of their being sent to Bermuda; and it was these latter which had been tried and had formed the subject of several notices in the newspapers. It was quite true that the shields were sent out before being perfectly tried, but the cause of so unusual a proceeding was as follows:—When the present Government assumed office in the summer of 1866 the attention of his right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel) was drawn to the very unsatisfactory state of our defences at Malta and Gibraltar, and he at once gave instructions to send out heavy guns to these fortresses. The shields that were intended for the protection of these guns had to be constructed with the greatest possible expedition, on a plan which had to a certain extent received the sanction of the Iron-plate Committee. The experiments which had since been made had been reported not to be generally successful, and so much attention had been directed to the matter that he had thought it his duty to appoint a Committee to inquire into all the circumstances. Of that Committee his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Stamford (Sir John Hay) had consented to act as Chairman.