The private himself paid it. We were armed partly with Ross rifles and partly with Lee Enfields. In the meantime, attempts had been made to get an issue of Lee Enfield rifles authorized. We were first of all confronted with the statement that it was difficult to get Lee-Enfields because there were not enough of them, and of course one was also conscious of the fact that the old discussion still persisted and that there were still friends of the Ross. However, after the fighting at Ypres in June an order was
[Mr. Griesbach. 1
finally issued re-anming everybody with the Lee Enfield.
The member for Mackenzie (Mr. Reid), speaks of the danger of the bolt blowing out. As a matter of fact, if the Ross rifle has anything to recommend it, apart from its accuracy-because it is a very accurate rifle-it is the fact that, in the interlocking of the bolthead, it is a stronger rifile than almost any other, because the bolt-head interlocks at the base, and the chamber has really a stronger bolt-blocking than almost any other rifle I know of. I do not recall having heard of any Ross rifle bolts blowing out, but I have heard of this having happened in connection with Lee-Enfields. Of course, there may possibly have been bolts that blew out on Ross rifles, but that is not the objection to that rifle. It would be a technical defect in any event, and would not amount to very much. The fatal objection is that it will not stand up to rapid fire because it jams, and that has been proved absolutely to the hilt. There cannot be much discussion on that point. But in addition to this fatal defect, there was the question of the desirability of our having the same riffle as used by the troops from other parts of the Empire. We were going to cooperate with them, and there was no reason why we should not have the same equipment, because they have the facilities and the means for the testing of military equipment in England, and they are willing to spend more time and money in this direction than we can.
The hon. member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie) raises another question. A good deal has been said on the subject the hon. member has brought up, that as a result of being armed with the Ross rifle many men were killed. I really do not know how just that accusation is.
I heard it made by a man who lost his son at Ypres in 1916. It was very unjust for two or three reasons. First, the son was serving in the Princess Patricias who were armed with the Lee-Enfield, not the Ross rifle at all. In the second place it was purely an artillery encounter and our men might just as well have been armed with shotguns in that particular battle. In the first battle of Ypres there was no doubt the firing of the Canadian troops was very much less effective, and the enemy enjoyed a certain immunity, from the fact that the Canadians were armed with an inferior weapon. It might be possible that in that engagement there were advantages to the enemy and disadvantages to us which re-
suited in heavier casualties, but at that time I do not think there was very much doubt that no other rifle was to be had, no other rifle was available.
Now that is the story of the Ross rifle as I know it. I never had any use for it myself. I discouraged the use of the weapon at its inception-I thought its use unwise and unsound. I knew that it was defective in its bolt manipulation and rapid fire and absolutely proved it to be so by actual use. As I have said, it is a very accurate rifle, there are very few more accurate rifles than the Ross. But it is not a military weapon which stands up to the tests which actual warfare put upon it.
Topic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS