Isle of Wight Observer May 14, 1892
TARGET PRACTICE AT SEA – The next meeting of the Special Commission to inquire into target practice seawards, will be held at the Western Forts, Isle of Wight, on Saturday, the 21st, inst., when it is understood that Lord George Hamilton, MP, will take down a number of Members of Parliament to Portsmouth to watch the effect of the experiment.
Whether Portsmouth is to be included within the scope of the inquiry of the Target Practice Committee is not yet known, but that it ought to be, a London correspondent thinks, is evident from the following circumstances which occurred on Easter Monday. The passengers by one of the Isle of Wight boats state that when they were entering Portsmouth Harbour, they heard firing from one of the forts on the Gosport side, and saw a shell ricochetting along the water till it came dangerously near the vessel.
MORE RECKLESS FIRING – On Wednesday, as Mr R Heward, senr, and Mr George Bevis were in the Yarra Yarra, running to the eastward near the Warner, they were suddenly surprised to find a number of shots come both sides of their little vessel. One of these shots struck the water within 20 yards of the bow of the boat, while the other was within 10 yards of the side. Considering the weight of these shots, and the enormous column of spray and water which they send up (enough to swamp a small boat even if they don’t actually strike her), there is no necessity for us to dilate upon the feelings of the unfortunate fishermen who have to pursue their avocation under such perilous circumstances. There were two gunboats near the Home Fort, and they were aiming at targets opposite, and how their shots got in the neighbourhood of the Warner, Mr Heward is unable to understand, unless, (as it was rather thick) they could not see how they were aiming.
MOBILIZATION OF THE MILITIA ARTILLERY – The Duke of Connaught, since his return to Portsmouth, has been actively engaged upon the details of the mobilization of Militia Artillery, which is to take place in the Southern district on the 23rd inst. Seven brigades of Militia Artillery are to be stationed at Portsmouth and its defences, a much larger number than has ever been brought there together before, and one brigade, the Hants and Isle of Wight, is to be stationed at Sandown, thus making eight in all. The other brigades, with one exception, are to be brought to Portsmouth from Scotland and Ireland, each assembling previously at its ordinary brigade centre. The brigades, which are to remain under arms for 34 days, will be placed partly in barracks and partly in forts and tents, and some very important operations of an experimental character are expected to be practised.