§ House in Committee.
§ (1.) 314,984l., Staff.
§ ADMIRAL WALCOTT said
This vote I cannot permit to pass without availing myself of such an opportunity to express that admiration which I, in common with this House and the country, entertain, when I review the exertions and self-denial of Miss Nightingale and her companions. With a wonderful fortitude and high religious purpose she left her happy home and country to go into a land of strangers, her one object to minister at the bedside of the wounded, in the midst of disease, trial, suffering, and sorrow, from which we shield our wives and daughters, and such as but few in this country could endure even to look upon; nor can I believe a more grateful tribute can be offered to that noble-hearted lady, since such womanly merit ever shrinks from praise, and such highsouled enterprise looks to God and not to man for commendation, than to mention here the names of two friends of hers—two associated with her in affection, and who accompanied her on her mission of mercy and kindness; they, having shared her anxieties, deserve a portion of the common praise. I need scarcely say I allude to Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge, and it is only an act of justice to allude to one other source of aid, one great means of relieving her anxiety and forwarding her good work. Without warm clothing, without comforts, without the little luxuries, without the stimulants and all the indispensable appliances to cheer the drooping and invigorate the convalescent, the tenderest nurse and the most assiduous surgeon are crippled in any effectual service; they exhaust themselves in mind and body to little purpose. It is due, then, to that journal which holds so prominent a place among the daily press to say it became foremost in the van to point to succour to the sick and wounded in the hospitals at Scutari—it collected contributions for a public fund, as its own subscription it provided an able steward of those bounties at its own personal cost. What has been the result? Testimonies of gratitude, not only in Scutari, but in Balaklava, and in the trenches, and on board the transports, for lives preserved through this humane interference; only one word have I further to add, that it is a marked characteristic of this country, and one, though not without precedent in this century, yet without parallel, that from every age and condition 1911 should have been poured forth contributions to the Patriotic Fund, providing every earthly means to restore the sick and wounded, and give comfort to their families at home—the men who, in return, ennoble her name, who went forth with her prayers and shall return with her honour not only safe but doubled in their keeping.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he must complain of the attack which had been made upon him by the hon. and gallant Member for Marlow (Colonel Knox) for a statement which he had made on a former occasion. Now, what was it that he on that occasion stated? He complained that the Guards had a sum of 500l. 5s. 8d. granted to them for table allowance, which was not allowed to any other part of the service of the line; and his comment amounted simply to the observation that the bill of fare for breakfast and dinner was very sumptuous. If the hon. and gallant Colonel supposed that by the adoption of strong language he would deter him (Mr. Williams) from observing upon these abuses and condemning them, he was most wofully mistaken. Although he was aware there was something thought to be very terrible in the name of a soldier, he begged to tell the hon. and gallant Colonel that he was neither afraid of him nor of any other man.
said, he wished to call the attention of the Secretary at War to the inadequate allowance made to the officer in command of the South-Western district. It was known that an immense number of foreigners of distinction annually went down to visit the dockyards at Portsmouth, to whom every hospitality was naturally shown, and in the course of their visit they were generally shown over the garrison. The general officer commanding there was expected to keep up his station, although he possessed no other means whatever than his allowance from the Government. No less than four general officers under whom he had himself served had been placed in that situation; and he believed that one officer had left his appointment because he had been so much injured in his pecuniary resources by the demands made upon him. Now, he contended that no officer holding such a position ought to suffer any pecuniary loss.
§ MR. FRENCH
said, he rose to say a few words in personal explanation in consequence of an observation which had fallen from him in the early part of the evening which had been misunderstood. It was true he did use the words "rank and 1912 file," in speaking of the gallantry of the army, but he most certainly at the same time recognised the services of the regimental officers.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he wished to refer to a document of great importance, relating to the future administration of the army, which had lately been laid upon the table of the House. A Royal Commission had been issued last year for the purpose of inquiring as to the best mode of improving the system of promotion in the army, with the view of bringing to the higher ranks of the service officers at an earlier period of life than those who attained such positions in the ordinary course of gradation. The Commissioners having reported, Her Majesty approved of their recommendations, and directed the Secretary at War and the Master General of the Ordnance to take them for their guidance in their respective offices. Warrants were accordingly issued, laying down the principle that promotions, instead of following the order of seniority, as they had hitherto done to a great extent, should proceed by selection. The first item of the Royal warrant declared that the rank of field marshal should henceforth be conferred without reference to seniority. This provision he considered was wholly unnecessary, because under the previous system the rank of field marshal was conferred by the Sovereign upon great occasions without regard to seniority; and, to cite a memorable instance, the Duke of Wellington could not have been made a field marshal, as he was, after the battle of Vittoria, if only the oldest general could have been so promoted. The second alteration made by the Queen's Warrant provided that, instead of officers rising from the rank of lieutenant colonel by degrees to that of general officers, without reference to the service they might have rendered, henceforth a certain service as lieutenant colonels should be essential to qualify them for the rank of general officers; and the term fixed was a period of three years in command of a regiment, or as lieutenant colonel of a regiment, excepting in the case of an officer filling a post on the staff corresponding to the command of a regiment, and one or two other exceptions. One qualification which had been since added to the original recommendations regarding the promotion of general officers was of a most extraordinary character, because it entitled officers who had served for six years as equerry to the Sovereign to at- 1913 tain the rank of general officers. Now, without desiring to enter into the question whether the office of equerry was not a Ministerial appointment, there certainly was nothing in the functions such an officer discharged to justify his receiving military promotion or reward. It was very much to be regretted that the Report of the Commissioners contained no recommendation that the staff of the army should be placed upon a different footing from that on which it had heretofore stood. The officers of the staff enjoyed all the advantages of the army, such as higher pay, greater promotion and distinction, superior comfort, and lighter as well as more agreeable duties; and it was, therefore, self-evident that appointments to the staff should be held out as prizes to be bestowed on officers of the greatest merit, and on those who had rendered the most distinguished services. In his opinion, no one should be placed upon the staff but such as were fully qualified; staff appointments should be considered the reward of superior merit. Young men who entered the army should be taught to look up to them as the highest object of their ambition, and that they could only be obtained by devoting themselves to their duties and to the study of their profession. If they made the staff to consist entirely of educated officers, the country would have confidence in their ability to discharge their duty, and no other portion of the army would grudge them the advantages which they might possess. It could not be denied that at the present moment much irritation had been caused in the minds of regimental officers by the indiscriminate promotion of officers upon the staff, and believing, as he did, that every one had concurred in maintaining the credit and honour of the profession, there could be no reason why so large a share of the distinctions and rewards should be distributed among the staff. For himself, he expressed his perfect satisfaction with the Royal Warrant by which the recent promotions had been made; it had left him exactly where he was, and he hoped the house would not suppose that he was actuated in the observation which he had made by any lurking feeling of personal disappointment. It had been stated by the noble Lord the Minister of War that the Government intended to send out an officer who should report upon the whole state of the army. That officer, it was intended, should com- 1914 municate with Lord Raglan, and inform the Government of his views upon all matters concerning the operations of the army in the Crimea. A man in that position would require to be possessed of no common powers of judgment and discernment. He begged, therefore, to ask the Government if they had fixed upon any officer to perform this delicate duty, and, if so, whether there would be any objection to announce his name.
§ MR. LAYARD
said, that in the last despatch received from Lord Raglan he observed with some astonishment the following paragraph—Forage is our only want, and this arises chiefly from the Commissary General not receiving from England the supplies of hay upon which he has reckoned.That was, he was almost tempted to say, a most scandalous thing. Three months ago our horses were dying for want of forage, and it seemed most extraordinary to him that they were made to depend upon this country for forage, when within three days sail abundance of chopped straw and other forage were to be obtained. He hoped the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of War would explain the reason of this scantiness of forage. An hon. Member had also inquired what provision had been made to furnish forage for the Turkish troops. Now, if we were unable to supply our own, he did not very well see how we could supply the Turks. Another question which he wished to ask was with respect to the tents. This was a subject of great importance. At present no one knew what direction the war would take, whether peace would soon be concluded or whether we were to have a protracted campaign. As far as he understood, the tents at present provided for the army before Sebastopol yore bell-tents, suitable to the operations in which the army were now engaged; but if they were to have a protracted campaign, and operations were to he extended over a large district of country, tents of another description would be required, particularly such as would be useful in protecting the troops from heavy dews. Colonel Elers Napier, to whom he had referred the other night, had sent him a drawing of a portable tent, which seemed to be quite adapted to a lengthened campaign such as he had described. The French army had two descriptions of tents, and, where troops were advancing or making movements in a coun- 1915 try, small tents were extremely useful, especially in a country with the climate of Asia Minor. Then, as to the summer clothing for the troops, he trusted that before July the patterns might be prepared, and that before November the summer clothing might be sent out to the soldiers. He would remark that the usual summer clothing served out to the troops at home and in the colonies was not adapted to the climate of the Crimea. He earnestly entreated the attention of Government to the subject, as it was one of the very highest importance to the health and welfare of the army. There was another subject to which he wished to allude, as it affected in some degree the reputation of a gallant officer. Shortly before the Duke of Newcastle left office, Colonel, now Major General, Chesney, was summoned from Ireland to take charge of the foreign contingent about to be raised. That officer came over and entered into communication with the War Minister, but the Duke of Newcastle retiring shortly after, General Chesney was told, without any reason given, that his services were not required. He was thus summarily dismissed, although he certainly might have expected somewhat more courtesy and consideration. With regard to the staff appointments, which had been referred to, he might mention the case of a gallant officer, a friend of his, who he found from recent despatches had been, unfortunately, wounded. He meant Colonel Dickson, one of the most gallant officers in the army, who had rendered most signal services to his country, who had been mentioned in more than one despatch, and whose name was celebrated throughout Europe—that officer had received no distinction whatever, he remained still a captain of artillery, notwithstanding his meritorious services. That officer was on Lord Raglan's staff, and might have received all the honours and promotion which the other staff officers had enjoyed, but when the work began before Sebastopol he requested to be placed in command of a battery, and in that position he had remained during the whole siege up to the present time. However, he still remained a captain of artillery, having obtained his lieutenant colonelcy by brevet some time previous. He trusted the hon. Gentleman would excuse him for calling his attention to these subjects, which were of no inconsiderable importance.
§ MR. BAILLIE
said, he wished to ask 1916 the Government whether they had taken any steps to provide suitable clothing for the wounded soldiers in hospital at Scutari? It was well known that for some time the wounded soldiers at Scutari were unprovided with clothing or necessaries by the Government, and were actually dependent upon public charity. Even the late Secretary at War did not think it improper to write begging letters on behalf of the troops, and to solicit the generosity of the students at the University of Oxford and Cambridge, to the Inns of Court, and to various individuals for old coats and trousers to cover the nakedness of the wounded soldiers. He (Mr. Baillie) had one of these begging letters from the late Secretary at War—a very great curiosity as coming from a Minister of the Crown. The letter ran as follows:—Mr. Sidney Herbert presents his compliments to the Bishop of Moray and Ross, and begs to say, that any contributions people are kindly disposed to make for the use of the army will be thankfully received and forwarded, if sent to Messrs. Hayter and Howell, 52, Mark Lane. It is requested an invoice of contents may accompany each parcel, and that the direction may be distinct either to Scutari or the Crimea, according to its destination. If a suggestion may be permitted, pillowcases and sheets for the hospital might be at present more acceptable than shirts.There was a distinct admission that sheets and pillowcases were wanted for the hospital at Scutari. He wished to know why those things were not sent immediately by the Government? Were the soldiers to wait until the Bishop of Moray and Ross had been able to excite the charitable feelings of his diocese? It must be remembered that those who sent out shirts sent them as presents to the soldiers, whereas sheets and pillowcases would go into the stores of the Government. The letter was an extraordinary production altogether. The wounded soldiers were indebted chiefly to those gentlemen who had had the direction of the newspaper fund. It was by their exertions that many thousands of our wounded fellow-countrymen had been saved from dying for want of the common necessaries. It was by the exertions of what had been called a "ribald press" that England had been saved from infamy and disgrace, and her annals had been freed from the blackest page ever inscribed thereon.
§ MR. WARNER
said, he thought that much of the mischief that had occurred in the Crimea had arisen from the inefficient 1917 state of our staff, which had brought down upon us the sneers of our allies, the indignation of Europe, and the disgust of every officer in Her Majesty's service. He trusted that the Government would take immediate measures for the thorough reorganisation of the staff.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, the object of the warrant of promotion referred to by the noble Lord (Lord Hotham) was to enable the Crown to employ comparatively young officers in command of brigades and divisions. It was therefore decided that lieutenant colonels who bad served a certain period in command of a regiment should be promoted at once to the rank of colonel, and then be eligible to employment as a general officer. The noble Lord at the same time had called attention to the first clause of the warrant, which said that rank should be given irrespective of seniority. He (Mr. Peel) presumed that the recommendations of the Commissioners embodied in the warrant had been taken as the best test for promotion. With respect to the case mentioned by the noble Lord he would observe that a lieutenant colonel serving as equerry to the Sovereign must serve double the period required by a lieutenant colonel in command of a regiment. With regard to the questions of the hon. Member for Aylesbury, he (Mr. Peel) fully admitted their importance, and he could assure the Committee that they would receive the earnest attention of the different departments connected with the administration of the army. In reply to the question of the hon. Member for Inverness—shire (Mr. Baillie) he could state that the Board of Ordnance had given directions to establish stores at Constantinople, whence all necessaries could be procured, and although it might have been the case formerly that soldiers upon quitting hospital had not received that proper attention to which they were entitled, yet now that these stores had been established, such a thing could not occur again. As to the reorganisation of the staff, it was so large a subject, and he had been to short a time in office, that he did not feel justified in giving any answer until he had had an opportunity of consulting his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the War Department.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he must beg to say that the hon. Gentleman had wholly failed to answer his objection as to the promotion of equerries to the staff. The 1918 objection was not that the period of six years' service as equerry was not long enough to entitle them to such promotion, but that no period of service as equerries could properly be a title for any military promotion.
§ MR. MONTAGUE CHAMBERS
said, he was desirous of asking some questions as to the reorganisation of the medical staff. It was a prevalent opinion that the medical staff in the Crimea ought to be placed on an entirely different footing from that it now occupied. In the first place, with regard to those who were appointed to attend to the sick, it was admitted that there had been great defects with respect to the individual surgeons whose duty it had been to attend to the sick. He thought it was perfectly clear, that with reference to their powers in the performance of their duties, however humane and skilful they might be, those powers had been very much crippled and overtaxed, and that consequently they had been unable to discharge their duties efficiently. There had been a defect—a routine defect—a defect arising from a kind of susceptibility in reference to the departments which had very much interfered with the efficiency of the medical staff. There had been, to his certain knowledge, many enthusiastic and skilful surgeons who had been extremely desirous of going out to the Crimea for the purpose of devoting themselves to one of the most admirable duties that could be performed by men in their station, and yet they had been met by impediments. It struck him (Mr. M. Chambers) that instead of impediments being put in their way, every facility should be afforded to such men, that when they went to put down their names their qualifications should be instantly inquired into, and that if they brought good testimonials they should that instant be marched for the station to which they were desirous of proceeding. But instead of that, when a man put down his name, being desirous of going to the Crimea, he might be despatched forthwith to Van Diemen's Land or Sierra Leone. He therefore thought it was the duty of every Member of Parliament, in the present critical state of affairs, to mention these little incidents to the authorities, in order that a repetition of the evils complained of might be prevented. He was anxious to know what new arrangements had been made to send out an efficient body of surgeons and other medical officers. The second question on 1919 which he sought information was with respect to the medicines. Every one knew that the medical department in the East had exculpated itself from blame on the ground of medicines not being forthcoming, for Dr. Andrew Smith had stated that, long before they were wanted, he sent large quantities to be forwarded to the Crimea, but when they were wanted they were not available; that they were considered as a sort of baggage in the vessels in which they were conveyed, because the medical stores were not sent out in separate vessels as was done by the French, so that before the medicines could be obtained the army stores had to be unpacked.
§ MR. G. DUNDAS
said, he believed that there had been no more fertile cause of complaint than the premature promotion of the staff officers. There were many deserving officers who had gone through the dangers of Inkerman, but had not been promoted nor mentioned in despatches, merely because they happened to be regimental instead of staff officers. For instance, one of the generals happened to be down at Balaklava on the day of the battle of Inkerman, but, on hearing of what was going forward, he made the best of his way to the front; he was accompanied by a young man—almost a boy, in fact—as aide-de-camp. He arrived on the field late in the day, but both the general and his aide-de-camp were mentioned in despatches, and the young man received his promotion immediately. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Layard) had complained of a want of forage at Balaklava, but what had struck him most when he was there was, not the want of forage, but the want of men to receive and distribute it. In fact, there was a very large quantity of forage lying at Balaklava at the very time that horses, within a mile, were actually starving for want of it. Shortly after his arrival, early in December, he rode out to the cavalry camp, about a mile from the town, and the state of the horses there struck him with horror. They were standing at their pickets—and this was after two or three days' successive rain, hail, and snow—without any covering and without even a rug laid over them. Every alternate horse almost lay dead, and the vicinity of the camp was strewed with their carcases. The mane and hair of the tail of many had been eaten off by their neighbours, showing the state of starvation to which they had been reduced, and yet, all 1920 this time, there was no want of forage at Balaklava, only a mile distant. The ship Cormorant came into the harbour of Balaklava laden with forage, on the 12th of November, and her captain, having with some difficulty persuaded the authorities on shore to relieve him of his cargo, a number of bran bags were taken on shore and laid on the beach; and there they were lying on the 1st of January. But this was no solitary instance of the mode in which affairs were conducted in the Crimea. When it was found that the men on the plateau required vegetables, the steamer Harbinger was sent to Constantinople to purchase some. On her return to Balaklava the captain could find no one to relieve him of his charge—no one would take the responsibility of receiving it. These vegetables remained on board until a strong remonstrance was made to headquarters, when an order was issued by the Commander in Chief that the officers and men should be allowed to go on board and take the vegetables by paying for them. At that time, however, vegetables were to be had on shore, though at a great price; and as there was some difficulty in getting on board, few persons availed themselves of the permission thus given. Time went on, and the great mass of the vegetables began to rot, and, further representations being made at head-quarters, another order was issued—the order which ought to have been made at first—that officers and men should be allowed to go and help themselves, without paying. The effect of this order was, that, though a great proportion of the vegetables had rotted, yet so much of them as could be used at all was very soon got rid of. Such things as these called for the institution of a strict inquiry, and he hoped that it would be made. The departments at home were probably to blame in many instances, but there could be no doubt whatever that the blame of much of the misery that had occurred to the army must be laid on the shoulders of the authorities in the Crimea. A great and grievous error had been committed in not having appointed men of vigour and ability for the discharge of stated duties, and in not making them responsible for the departments over which they were placed. Much misunderstanding had occurred on account of the want of knowledge on the part of different officers as to the particular duties they were to perform. He understood 1921 that one officer whose duty it was to see that a proper and fit road was made from Balaklava to the camp, was under the impression that that fell not under his care, but under that of the engineer; and, consequently, between the two, no road was made, or at least only such a road as aggravated immensely the calamities of the campaign. With respect to this road, which he had frequently passed over, he was a good deal puzzled to come to a conclusion about it; it had a good sound bottom, although he must confess it was very muddy and deep. Many hon. Gentlemen who had visited the Highlands of Scotland, knew very well the difficulties of a Highland road, and were yet aware that carts passed over it without killing the horses. The road from Balaklava to the camp was certainly a wretched one, but he believed that if the horses had been properly fed and attended to, and affairs had been carried on with a little more system, those grave and terrible calamities which had unfortunately occurred, never would have happened, and food would have been conveyed to the soldiers at the camp in sufficient abundance to enable them to maintain their strength. They would also have been supplied with clothing, for there was no want of that in the port of Balaklava, or of fuel, another most needful and indispensable requisite. Had the transport service not broken down between Balaklava and the plateau he firmly believed that the army would not have suffered one-thousandth part of the calamities they had endured. With respect to the officers serving at the camp, he might say that they had been singularly exempted from disease. Many of them were very comfortable, and nearly all in a state of health and vigour; but the reason was sufficiently plain. They were men of independent fortune, and could command the use of beasts of burden, and thus were furnished with a variety of requisites which were denied to the soldiers. Another grave evil was the enormous amount of work which the soldiers had to perform. The English undertook to defend a greater length of line than their numbers justified. The consequence was, that the men had to go into the trenches so frequently, and were kept there so long, that their strength was totally exhausted, and they were thus rendered unfit for duty. He had heard instances of good men going to the surgeons and declaring that, though they were quite well, they were worn out by 1922 fatigue and want of sleep, adding that, if they were to go on sentry they felt they should fall asleep. They said that if they were only put on the sick list and given a few hours' rest they would gladly return to their duty. He had known cases where the doctors, knowing the men, had complied with their request, and the men, refreshed and invigorated, had returned to their work. Repeated reference had been made within the last few weeks to the inability to obtain medicines at Balaklava. There was some signal mismanagement in that, as in almost every department there. A short time before he left the Crimea, late in December, a medical man told him that he had gone down to Balaklava for the purpose of procuring a considerable quantity of opium, which was a sine quâ non in reference to the disease which was scourging the army. On his arrival at Balaklava this medical gentleman found that, instead of so many pounds of opium, he could scarcely get so many ounces; and he returned to the camp compelled, much to his regret, to tell his patients that it was impossible to get the medicines requisite for the maladies they were labouring under. There was another subject to which he trusted the attention of Government would be directed—the state of the transports conveying the sick between Balaklava and Scutari. He believed that since he left the Crimea, this had been considerably improved; but, when he was there, great room for improvement existed. Anything more wretched than the condition of the poor men sent from Balaklava to Scutari could hardly be pictured. The ships which conveyed them were totally destitute of anything like blankets or bedding. He remembered, on one occasion, 600 men being sent down from the plateau to Balaklava, being conveyed by our generous allies, the French, on their ambulance mules. It happened to be a rainy day, and the men, when taken on board in their wet, dripping clothes, had nothing dry to substitute for these; they had only the great coats they wore, and some of them but one blanket; and in this condition they were compelled to lie down on the hard deck. Nevertheless, so great was the change from the misery they had been enduring at the camp, from wet, exposure, and want of proper sustenance, that, wretched as it might seem to lie down on the hard deck of a transport, these men looked upon it as the very acme of comfort. That does not, however, last long, for 1923 when a sick man has to lie for some time on a hard deck he suffers from it, though possibly for a couple of days he may do so with impunity. He had gone in a steamer from Balaklava to Scutari with 300 sick men. The passage was a quick one, for in two days they were brought abreast of the hospital; but, on arriving, there was no accommodation for the sick, and ten days elapsed before the greater number landed. This was a very trying period, and the men died rapidly. He believed that from the time of the vessel leaving Balaklava until the period when the last man quitted the ship, the mortality among the 300 men was at the rate of 11 per cent; but the greater number of these died during the ship's detention at Scutari. This arose from the want of hospital accommodation. Now the French managed these things very much better. They were not one-half so tender with the Turks as the English were. When they wanted a hospital they went and took one, whereas the English entered into a long correspondence, beat about the bush, and took so much time about the matter, that it generally terminated in their losing their chance. He believed that a scheme had already been carried out for the establishment of a hospital at Smyrna; but another excellent suggestion had been made by a gentleman of great military experience in India. His plan was to send out from this country a large wooden building, in separate pieces, to be put together at Sinope. Now, Sinope was but a short distance from Balaklava, and the advantages of the plan were many. One was, that the wounded might be carried from Balaklava, in a very brief time, to a comfortable hospital, in the event of another engagement taking place; and there the necessary operations might be performed. The sad experience of the surgeons had hitherto taught them that secondary operations were hardly ever successful; while those performed in the field had generally turned out satisfactory; but it was impossible to perform anything but a secondary operation, when the patient must be conveyed such a long distance as from Balaklava to Scutari. In the event of this plan being recognised as a sound and good one, as one which the Government would carry out, many valuable lives would be saved. Another advantage would arise from the establishment of this wooden hospital. Stone buildings contracted a deleterious atmosphere, that militated greatly 1924 against the recovery of patients. They seemed to become impregnated with disease, which hung about them. But in a clean wooden building that was not the case, and a very eminent physician belonging to the civil department recently organised to go out to Smyrna was so fully cognisant of this fact that he was endeavouring, by all means in his power, to bring the subject before the Government. He (Mr. Dundas) trusted, therefore, the Government would take the matter into their consideration, and not think it unworthy of their notice.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, that those who sat on the Treasury benches, though generally responsible for the failure of our troops, had cheered the statement that the men in the trenches had too much to do. But had the 54,000 men sent out there been properly cared for. they would never have suffered as they had done. It was merely another instance of the blundering which prevailed in the departments at home. He felt the profoundest sympathy, as did every Irishman, for our brave troops in the East. He was convinced that the blundering and stupidity of the late Government had caused more destruction in our army than had their Muscovite foes. Had those 54,000 men been watched over by a general like Wellington, would they, he asked, have been reduced to 24,000 effective men at this moment? The whole career of the Government mismanagement had been a huge disaster. He would mention one instance of mismanagement that had come to his knowledge. A large ship, with 190 bullocks on board, for the troops in the trenches, was about to enter Balaklava; but some wretched nincompoop of an official, by his blundering stupidity, kept the vessel waiting five days; and the result was that only eighty bullocks out of the 190 were landed alive. The troops had been literally starved and murdered in the trenches by the neglect of some department, at whose door their blood would lie. He would say this of Lord Raglan, that, from all he had seen and heard, until that general was replaced, we should not have a successful prosecution of the war. It was only through the newspapers that the public derived their information, and through them the Government had been galvanised into something like activity. At a moment when the greatest distress and despondency prevailed in the Crimea, Lord Raglan was never seen; he was not even known to the troops. Surely it was 1925 the duty of a man who had so great a responsibility placed upon him to take all the steps in his power for preserving the efficiency of his troops. These matters must be inquired into, and then it would be seen what answer could be given. The troops had even been denied the last consolations in their dying hours. Only two Roman Catholic clergymen had been sent out at first; of these one had died in the discharge of his sacred duties. Some pressure having been brought upon the Government eight others had been sent out; of these two had died and four were invalided. There were about 5,000 men sick in the camp and at Balaklava, besides those in the hospitals at Scutari and elsewhele. The few Catholic clergymen who were left were totally unequal to the duties they had to perform; and the Government, by neglecting the spiritual wants of the troops. Was nat treating the poor Catholic soldiers properly in this matter. The rev. Mr. Law, when he presented himself at the hospital at Scutari, had been refused admission. The French Government and the French generals were much more careful of their troops; the contrast between their forces and ours was disgraceful to this country. The French had a cavalry; we had none; it had been sacrificed at Balaklava either by the blundering of Lord Raglan or Lord Lucan, but it had the effect to raise high the moral character of the British army. But if soldiers were murdered by incompetency it was disgraceful to the British name. He had one idea; if ever it was the duty of the British Government and generals to make our forces formidable, it was now when we hail an ally from whom, not long ago, we were apprehending invasion. And yet our Government and generals had done more than the worst enemies of this country could have done to render worthless the valour and courage of our soldiers by official blundering and incompetency.
§ CAPTAIN ARCHDALL
said, he begged to call attention to a few of the appointments recently made in the army, which were accompanied with a certain degree of injustice to old and meritorious officers. He alluded to the appointment of Generals Bentinck, Campbell, and Pennefather to the colonelcies of regiments. They were worthy, no doubt, of every reward, but in the way in which it was conferred an injustice had been done to old and deserving officers. He could not help expressing himself much disappointed at the 1926 answer given by the noble Lord at the head of the Government regarding Sergeant Sullivan. With regard to such cases, he might say that none but the officers in a regiment could judge of the fitness of a man for promotion. Some of the smartest men in his troop, men whose pluck and courage would have induced him to select them as a forlorn hope or for any service of extreme danger, were nevertheless men whom he could not have recommended for promotion from the ranks. Such was not the case, however, with Sergeant Sullivan. That soldier was a man of the greatest courage, much respected himself, and connected with a highly-respectable family, and he trusted the House would yet hear of his being rewarded in a way corresponding to his deserts.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, he had called the attention of the Government the other evening to the great improvement which had taken place in the health of European troops in India from the use of porter, the deaths in one regiment having fallen from ten to two per cent; and he need hardly state that this led to a great saving of money, apart altogether from motives of humanity. Indeed, there could be no doubt as to the advantages flowing from an issue of porter to the troops; and ho wished, therefore, to know from the Government whether they would furnish a Return showing the quantities of that beverage sent to the East?—what portions of it had been returned to England, and for what cause?—whether the agent who contracted for the conveyance of the porter had sent in a bill of expenses to the Government for the retention of the ship; and, also, whether there was any objection to lay on the table of the House the correspondence that had taken place with reference to the supply of the porter? He had also stated on a former evening that officers wounded in the army had no place of refuge at home such as was provided for naval officers, and the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) said he thought that was a subject worthy of consideration. There could be no doubt of the hardship entailed upon officers who were sent home wounded in being put to a great expense to effect a cure. He knew the case of a young man who had been severely wounded in the Crimea. The wound was very obstinate, and he came home, when after heavy expense and great care and attention he began to get the better of it. He went before the Medical Board and receiv- 1927 ed 50l., one-half of his pay. Now, he was sure that no one would have grudged such a man 100l. in those circumstances. This was only one case out of the many that had occurred, and he therefore hoped the matter would receive the serious consideration of the Government.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that the hon. and gallant Member had on a former occasion put a question to him, which he would now take the opportunity of answering. The effect of the question, as he understood it, was whether or not cargoes of porter which had been despatched from this country had arrived at Constantinople, but that, from the circumstance of there being no officer appointed to receive them there, the vessels containing those cargoes had returned again to this country with the porter; and whether an action was not now pending against the Government for non-performance of their contract? He had great pleasure in informing the House that there was not the slightest foundation for that rumour. There had never been any question at all as to porter returning home, although, in the case of porter or of other provisions having arrived at different ports after the troops had left, there undoubtedly had been questions as to the amount of freight which the Government should pay, taking into consideration the difference of the length of the voyage which those vessels had to perform as compared with the length of the voyage for which they were originally destined. He might mention that porter formed no part of the rations ordinarily issued to the troops, but, with the view of furnishing it to them at prime cost, four cargoes had been despatched from this country. In one case a vessel was sent to Malta, but when it arrived the troops had left that place, and that vessel was subsequently sent on to Varna; another vessel had, in the same way, after having been first sent to Constantinople, been sent to Varna, and subsequently to the Crimea; another vessel landed her cargo at Scutari, where it was used; and the fourth of those vessels carried her cargo to Varna, and it was consumed there. There was no foundation for the rumour that any action for non-performance of contract was pending against the Government, although, of course, the claims made by the contractors for the additional length of voyage were under consideration. With regard to the method in which that porter was purchased, he could only state that it had been bought upon contract by 1928 tender, and he did not think that the correspondence referring to that transaction was of sufficient importance to be laid on the table of the House; but if the hon. and gallant Gentleman pressed for the production of that correspondence he would not oppose him.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) 151,108l., Public Departments.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he might, perhaps, be allowed to take this opportunity of making some explanation in reference to a statement made the other evening by the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Otway). The substance of that statement was, that two soldiers had been most severely punished for merely firing at a target representing the Emperor of Russia. Now, he (Mr. Peel) had perused the charges against these men, as well as the proceedings of the court-martial held on the occasion; but neither in the charges, the evidence, nor the finding of the court, was there the slightest allusion to the Emperor of Russia. The charges against the men were simply that they had fired away several rounds of ammunition, and had injured the barracks, the public property. The men were sentenced to various periods of imprisonment—the one, he believed, to 148 days, the other to 42 days—and the reason why a distinction was made between the cases was this, that one of the men, Gallagher, had been previously convicted three times, besides which, his general character was very bad.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, he had never intended to make a charge against the Government, nor had he ever said that the men had been firing at the Emperor of Russia. He wished they could. All he wanted to convey was that he thought two soldiers had been too severely punished for a trivial offence. As he was on his legs, perhaps he might be allowed to express a hope that the Government would see the necessity of attaching to the War Department an officer whose duties would be analogous to those performed by officers in the countries. He wished to see an officer appointed whose special duty it would be to observe the military occurrences of other countries, particularly all new inventions in firearms, to take account of them and report on them to the department.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN
said, he wished to know whether any order had been promulgated against Irishmen being recruited for the brigade of Guards? The Guards—more especially the household cavalry— 1929 received larger pay and enjoyed greater advantages than the troops of the line generally; and it became, therefore, a matter of some interest to know whether any indisposition existed on the part of those in authority to accept the service of Irishmen in the Guards. He believed, for example, that in the Royal Horse Guards (Blue) there were only six Irishmen.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, he had put a question relative to the number of Roman Catholic chaplains employed in connection with our army in the East, and, as yet, he had received no answer. As considerable anxiety prevailed on the subject in Ireland, he would repeat his question, and he would request that something like a distinct answer would be given to him.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, in reference to the question of the hon. Member for Dungarvan, he had only to repeat his statement whilst moving the Estimates—that of the forty-two clergymen employed for the service of the army in the East, twenty-four were ministers of the Church of England, eight belonged to the Presbyterian Church, and ten were Roman Catholics. It might be that that number was insufficient for the purposes of the Roman Catholic soldiers in the East, still it was necessary to preserve some distinction between the number of clergymen of each denomination.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, that two of the Roman Catholics originally sent were dead, four were invalided, and he believed only two now remained. What he wanted to know was, whether any steps would be taken to fill up the vacancies thus created?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he could give the hon. Member some explanation on that point. On a consideration of the relative proportions of the several denominations comprising the army it had hitherto been held that the Roman catholics constituted one-third of the whole army. Acting on that conviction the total number of clergymen originally sent out to the Crimea being twenty-four, of these, twelve belonged to the Church of England, eight to the Church of Rome, and four to the Presbyterian Church. Subsequently, however, it was proposed by members of different religious bodies that a certain sum should be subscribed, in order to supply an additional number of chaplains to the army, on the understanding that one- 1930 half of the cost would be defrayed by Government, the other half being borne by the subscribers. That proposal was accepted, and, in accordance with it, a number of gentlemen, recommended both by the Church of England and by the Presbyterian bodies, had been sent out as additional chaplains, and he had no doubt that the services of additional Roman Catholic chaplains would have been accepted had they been offered under similar terms. He might add that, since the original arrangement had been made, he believed that the relative proportions of the different denominations composing the army had undergone an alteration, and looking to the partial failure of recruiting in Ireland, it was very much to be doubted whether so large a proportion of the army as one-third was now constituted of Roman Catholics.
§ Mr. MAGUIRE
said, he thought it was derogatory to the dignity of the nation, and discreditable to the Government, whose duty it was to provide for the spiritual as well as the other wants of the army, that a bargain should have been entered into with the very poorest class of the community—the Roman Catholics of England, of Ireland, and of Scotland—by which they were required to pay a portion of the expense of the clergy who were sent out to minister to those who were fighting the battles of their country. He would venture to say that in the list of those who had been killed or disabled every third name was that of an Irishman, and the presumption was that those men were Roman Catholics. He believed that one-third of the soldiers who had been sent out from this country to the Crimea some eight or nine months since were Roman Catholics. The 23rd Fusileers was called a Welsh regiment, but he saw that regiment embark at Cork, and he was informed at the time, both by soldiers and officers who belonged to it, that two-thirds of the men had been enlisted in the south of Ireland. He believed that nearly one-half of the soldiers who had sailed for the Crimea were Roman Catholics, and he thought it was most discreditable to the Government and to the nation that such a bargain should have been entered into as that to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred.
§ Mr. W. WILLIAMS
said, that the Under Secretary for the War Department had expressed his intention to reduce this Vote by the amount of the salary of the 1931 Secretary at War, but he thought that, by the union of that office with the office of Secretary for War, a considerable reduction might also be effected in the salaries of clerks and officers of the department.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, the relations subsisting between the whole of those departments and the War Office were under consideration.
said, he was anxious to hear whether any extra pay or gratuity had been given to the Gentlemen employed in the War Department, in consequence of the additional work they had been called on to perform since the outbreak of the war. Many of them, as he was informed, were kept at work from nine o'clock in the morning until eight or nine at night; and surely it might be expected that in a country like England public servants would be compensated for the additional demands made upon their labours.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he must admit that undoubtedly the business of the War Office had greatly augmented during the past year; still that increase of business had been principally met by adding to the number of clerks—an addition amounting to between forty and fifty.
§ MR. BERESFORD
said, he at least had no reason to believe that the staff of the War Office had been unnecessarily increased. He therefore did not rise to object to the present Vote, but to make a few observations in reference to the Estimates of 1853, and which he was precluded from making at the time in consequence of his having been confined to bed. It happened that in the year 1852, in consequence of the embodiment of that force, the militia estimates were first brought forward. Having the honour at that time of holding the office of Secretary at War, be had deemed it his duty to make an application to the Treasury for a trifling increase in the number of clerks employed at the office, on account of the extra work to be got through. His application having been sent in in the beginning of July, a Commission was issued during the month of September, consisting of the noble Lord the Member for Buckinghamshire (the Marquess of Chandos), Sir Charles Trevelyan, Mr. Bromley, and Mr. Hawes, to consider the whole subject, and they continued their inquiries until the month of December. Well, on the 16th of that month the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) then Chancellor of the Exchequer 1932 stated that the Commission, having duly inquired into the War Office, had decided that the extra duties must be got through without any additional expense to the country. However, he (Mr. Beresford) having taken leave of office towards the end of December, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for south Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) succeeded to his place, when a renewed application for additional clerks was sent in, and the consequence was the number employed were increased by nine. Now, he wished to point out that although in 1852, at a period when the business of the office had been greatly and suddenly augmented, a much more trifling addition than that subsequently granted had been refused to him, without any further increase of business, no less than nine clerks were added to the staff. But a still more extraordinary circumstance remained to be shown—namely, that while the report of the Commission of 1852 had never been presented to Parliament, the Reports of two subsequent Commissions had been presented and printed. He could not help thinking that these two facts were exceedingly awkward, and open to suspicion; and he hoped very much Her Majesty's Government would examine into the matter.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) 17,795l., Royal Military College.
said, he was sorry that, owing to an informality, he could not the other day bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice. He did not now rise to offer any opposition to the Vote. He hoped, however, that the resolution which he had intended to propose would be considered by Her Majesty's Government, as it was quite evident, owing to the great increase of officers by the recent promotion from the ranks, that there must be a proportionate increase of clerks in the War Department. It was his intention shortly to bring this subject under the consideration of the House.
§ MR. BRADY
said, he wished to make some remarks in reference to what had been stated a few nights ago, by the First Lord of the Treasury, when these Estimates were first brought under the consideration of the House. The noble Lord then endeavoured to shift upon other shoulders the blame that ought properly to be visited upon himself and his colleagues, and proceeded to and fault with the conduct of the medical men that were now in the Crimea. Now, he wished the Com- 1933 mittee to understand this fact—that the medical men in the Crimean army were not allowed independent action; they could not, consequently, be as efficient as under other circumstances they might be. He hoped, in the changes that were to take place in our army, that the medical staff would be placed altogether upon a different footing, and by being allowed to act independently of quartermasters and other officers who knew nothing at all of the duties to be performed by them, their services would be made much more effective than they were capable of being made at present. He found in the estimate now before the Committee that the sum allotted to the governor and lieutenant-governor of this institution was 1825l. a year; whilst, at the same time, there were two officers whose duties were much more laborious and much more needed, and having yearly between them a sum of only 392l. He alluded to the surgeon and assistant surgeon. It might be said that this was a self-supporting institution. There were, however, few officers' widows who could afford to pay 100l. a year for the education of their children. He was given to understand that this institution did not only support itself, but it overpaid itself. There were 180 boys allowed into the school, and the chaplain was allowed 300l. a year. He thought that this salary was out of all proportion too great. He also observed in the estimate the sum of 442l. a year, allowed to the governor for forage. He wished to ask whether it was necessary that the govern should employ horses to ride after the boys? The country, he was sure, would never knowingly sanction such jobbery as this was.
§ MR. RICE
said, he could not remain silent while an hon. Gentleman designated such an institution as the Royal Military College as a piece of jobbery. He must bear his testimony to the value of that institution. He hoped and believed that when the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) said that it was merely Royal by name, he did not mean to cast a stigma upon the institution. Now, instead of officers' sons having to pay 100l. a year, those of a certain grade were only charged 40l. When proof was given that the parents were unable to pay the usual sum with their children there was the greatest indulgence shown to them by the institution.
said, that the sum demanded for children was in proportion 1934 to the rank of their fathers; some, for example, had to pay 80l., while others were admitted at a much lower rate.
§ GENERAL PEEL
said, great complaints had been made of generals and staff officers not having learnt their duties. He understood that a camp was about to be established at Ablershott, and he would suggest that the pupils of this institution should be in some way connected with that camp, in order that they might have an opportunity of learning not only the elementary portion of their duties, but also of acting with the men who would thus he brought together. He believed that the greatest possible benefit would result from the adoption of this suggestion. He thought that lectures might be given on military subjects at the camp, at which all the officers should be invited to attend, and he trusted that many of the sergeants, who he was happy to see were receiving encouragement by promotion, would have the same opportunity. During the last war the students in the junior department at Sandhurst were allowed to hold commissions by purchase, so that a boy of thirteen might hold a commission without discharging the duties attached to it, permission being given him to pursue his studies. He thought some such system might be adopted with advantage now, and that a boy—say of fifteen—at Sandhurst, having passed a certain examination, and it being understood that he intended to devote himself to the service, should be allowed to hold a commission by purchase, and remain at the college another year in order to complete his studies. If this system were adopted they would have younger men to fill commands, and the service would, he believed, be benefited.
§ MR. BRADY
said, he must beg to explain that he did not wish to throw any slight upon the institution, but he only wanted to call the attention of the Committee to the glaring fact of the one-ninth of the whole Vote being devoted as salaries to the governor and lieutenant-governor of the establishment.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, it was not his opinion that the education in the senior department at Sandhurst was of the best character, or the most useful for the officers of the staff. In foreign countries, 1935 besides the education such officers must have, they were obliged to serve a certain number of years in other branches of the service. If officers were obliged from the senior department to attach themselves to certain branches of the army for a given time, he was certain that it would prove a much better system. There were great errors abroad as to the real meaning of the staff of the army. Many suppose that, like Lord Raglan's staff, the officers had nothing more to do than to convey the orders of the commander in chief to the different parts of the army. The quartermaster general's department, however, required men with much higher qualifications.
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
said, he had no objection to support the proposition of the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire in order to extend the benefits of the college at Sandhurst. He always believed that the money paid by cadets was much greater than it ought to be. He was of opinion that the office of governor could be very well abolished. The lieutenant-governor could do all the duty that was necessary—1,000l. a year might be thus saved to the institution.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, there was no complaint against the establishment itself, and he for one thought it ought to be extended; but such an item as that of 442l. for forage for the governor and lieutenant-governor was very objectionable.
said, that what he complained of was that for several years the system of selecting the officers of the staff was not that of taking them from those that bad qualified themselves at Sandhurst. He said that the system hitherto pursued had tended to discourage officers from learning their duty. At Sandhurst an officer did not learn all that it was necessary for a staff officer to know; but he learned what was essential for him to know—the knowledge of surveying, of sketching, and of fortifications, which was not generally taught in other schools. He thought the suggestions of the hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) most valuable.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) 23,367l., Royal Military Asylum.
§ LORD NAAS
said, he wished to ask a question in connection with this Vote. It was stated the other night that a sum of 10,000l. was to be taken from the unclaimed prize-money for the purpose of being devoted, to the Royal Military Asy- 1936 lum at Chelsea. He (Lord Naas) wished the hon. Gentleman to state the number of boys on the establishment, and also the number of additional boys. He hoped the hospital in Ireland would be placed on the same footing of increase as Chelsea.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, the additional number of boys was [...]20. He would consider the question of whether an addition ought to be made to the Dublin Hospital, although the mere circumstance of an addition having been made to Chelsea Hospital did not, in his opinion, constitute a claim on the part of the Dublin establishment.
§ SIR WILLIAM SOMERVILLE
said, the hospital in Dublin was very efficiently conducted, and he hoped its claims would be taken into consideration.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, the Government ought to be guided, in considering this question, by the number of orphan children who required education. When the school at Chelsea was first established by the Duke of York, the number of children placed there was much greater than it had been up to a recent period. The Secretary at War, in consequence of the reduction in the number of children, seized on a part of the building and used it as a normal school for training regimental schoolmasters, and, when the claim for the introduction of a larger number of soldiers' orphans was pr[...]sed on the Government, it was necessary to provide an additional building in order to accommodate the same number of children as it had been originally intended to educate. There was no such reason for making a similar addition to the excellent institution in Phœnix Park.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, if it should be found on inquiry that the school at Dublin had the same claim as that at Chelsea it ought to have a similar grant, but not otherwise.
said, he was perfectly satisfied that it had the same claim, for there were as many Irish as there were English soldiers' orphans.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, the regimental schoolmasters educated at Chelsea were for the use of Ireland as well as of England.
§ Vote agreed to; as was also
§ (5.) 88,000l., Volunteer Corps.
§ (6.) 3,813,383l., Embodied Militia.1937
said, he wanted to know what were the intentions of the Government as to the embodiment of the Irish militia? At this moment hardly any of the Irish militia regiments, though fully drilled, had arms, and he would suggest that the arms of the pensioners, who were only called out twice or three times a year for a day or two's drill, should be given to the militia when not in use by the pensioners. There were many regiments of Irish militia not yet embodied, and unless they were so, no recruits would be obtained from that source.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that the attention of the Government had been directed to both points, and he could inform the hon. and gallant Member that it was intended to call out the Irish militia as soon as arrangements could be made to provide barracks for them, without having recourse to the inconvenient and non-economical system of billeting.
§ MR. WARNER
said, he was glad to hear that it was intended to do away with the objectionable system of billeting, and would suggest that temporary barracks of wood or iron would answer every purpose.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, he wished to inquire whether the Government intended to resort to the ballot for the militia?
§ MR. PARKER
said, he must complain of the quality of the cloth of which the trousers of some of the militia regiments were made; he would mention an instance in one of the East Lancashire regiments, in which, when a hot iron was applied to the cloth, it took away not only the colour but the whole of the dressing. The cloth of which the militia uniforms was made was far inferior to that of which the uniforms of the rural police, and even of the felons, was manufactured. The boots, too, were of a shameful description, so bad that the soles frequently left the upperleathers as soon as they were brought into use.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he believed that in general the clothing supplied was of good quality, but there were some cases in which it was of an inferior description. The late Secretary at War had made an arrangement by which the colonels were themselves to look after the clothing. With regard to the question of the noble Lord (Lord Lovaine), he had to state that the Government had no intention to resort to the ballot at present. Representations had been received at the Home Office of the difficulty of raising 1938 men in some quarters, and recommending a resort to the ballot, but his answer had been that he was perfectly convinced that men would join in due time, and that the best course was to leave it to their good feeling.
§ COLONEL SIBTHORP
said, that the men who had volunteered into the line from the regiment which he had the honour to command had been highly approved of, and were most efficient soldiers.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, he was aware of cases in which colonels of regiments had written to the War Office stating that they had men ready to recruit for particular regiments, and they had been informed that a sergeant would be sent down to recruit for the regular army from militia regiments. But after the lapse of some time the dispositions of the men changed. Now, he thought it would be better to give the colonels greater facilities for sending up men who wished to join the regular army.
said, that the transmission of pay from our soldiers in the Crimea to their relatives in this country was a subject with respect to which a considerable amount of dissatisfaction prevailed. It was alleged that the applicants for money so transmitted had in many instances been informed by the authorities here that they knew nothing whatever about it. The answer which they almost invariably received at the War Office was, "We are extremely sorry that we cannot give you any information about your money, but we have had no account upon the matter from the Paymaster of the forces." Now, it was highly desirable that habits of frugality upon the part of the soldier should receive every encouragement, but nothing could tend more to prevent the acquisition of such habits than the fact that there was no security afforded him that he could transmit his pay with safety and regularity to his family at home. There was also another subject to which he wished to call the attention of the Government—it was in reference to the system of hospital service in the East. The general system was, that when the soldier went into hospital, the sergeant entered a description of the man, his name, that of his native parish, &c.; and also took an account of the amount of money of which he might be possessed, with the view that, in case of his death, there might be no dispute as to how it was to be disposed of. He regretted, however, to have to state 1939 that at the hospital at Scutari no such system prevailed, and that plunder and robbery to a disgraceful extent were the consequences of the neglect of the necessary regulations. Soldiers were known to have entered that hospital with 8l. or 10l. in their pockets, and the moment they ceased to breathe the whole amount of their money had disappeared.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he perfectly concurred with the hon. and gallant Member in the opinion, that every facility ought to be given to the soldiers in the East for the purpose of transmitting money to their families at home. The delays which had hitherto occurred in its transmission must, he apprehended, be attributed to the fact that at the time of application for the money being made to the War Office the regimental pay lists had not been received, and of course until that list was received, and the authorities here were thus enabled to ascertain what pay was actually due, they could not pay over the money to the applicants.
Therefore it is that I think it is impossible you can get on without the assistance of a Paymaster-General of the forces.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
The Paymaster-General would have nothing to do with the accounts of the regiments.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, there appeared the other day in the newspapers an account of a proposition having been made to the War Office to transmit a certain sum from this country to persons lying in the hospitals at Scutari and Constantinople, and that the War Office not only declined to receive the money, but stated that the persons lying in the hospital at Scutari had received every comfort and everything that money could supply, and that such assistance was perfectly superfluous. He should be happy if the Under Secretary of War could inform the Committee whether he would be able to afford the means by which the charity of this country could reach those brave and unhappy men.
§ MR. A. STAFFORD
said, he was exceedingly glad the attention of the Committee had been called to the subject. When he was on a visit to the hospital there was not a single day on which the matter was not pressed upon his attention. There were soldiers to whom pay was due who could not send any portion of it to their relations in England. They said, "We do not ask charity, we do not ask 1940 subscriptions from private benevolence, but we say that in our sickness caused by the performance of our duty we ought to receive what we have earned, and send it to our wives, sisters, and other relatives in England, but by the regulations at Scutari we have been over and over again refused." He had seen letters from female relatives stating that unless money was sent to them to purchase a mangle or set themselves up in some way of business, there was nothing left for them but the workhouse or prostitution. It gave him great pain to hear these brave men make such complaints day after day. There was no redress, and the reason was that no regimental pay-list had come from the Crimea. The late Secretary at War (Mr. S. Herbert) stated that he had given orders and instructions to remedy this evil at Scutari. Far from hearing that statement with satisfaction, he had heard it with great despair, because it was his firm conviction that it had not arrived yet, so that the great evil which existed at Scutari, when he was there, existed, he believed, in full force at this very moment. We ought to enable the poor soldier to draw, not as a matter of favour or private benevolence, but as a matter of justice, such sums as he might see fit, not only for his own comfort, but to send to his relations. With respect to the men who had been obliged to come home, none of them had been paid since they arrived in this country. A man came here with the loss of a limb; he wished to go to see his friends; but he was unable to do so because he could not get his money from the Horse Guards. The Minister of War, on the other hand, had very justly said that it was the duty of all, in their several localities, to do their utmost to induce men to enlist in the army. But what could individuals do in that way, when these young men who desired to enlist, were told by others whom they met in the streets, "We have served our country abroad; we came home wounded; but we cannot get our money!" Such was another proof of the reign of routine. He was sure that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of War would be most anxious to remedy these and other evils, and he therefore implored them to depart from the spirit of routine in the present instance, and do justice to those who had fought so bravely and suffered so much for their country.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, the 1941 hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had not given a correct description of the regulations under which pay was issued to the soldiers. The hon. Gentleman stated to him some time ago, upon his return from Constantinople, that there was great difficulty about paying the men in the East. Now, there could be no doubt that even by official routine the men were entitled to receive their pay as the hon. Gentleman stated, and they were likewise entitled to have facilities which would enable them to remit the money to their friends at home. When the army went out to the Crimea, in order that the circumstance he had just mentioned should be generally known to the men, Lord Raglan was requested to publish a general order directing the attention of the troops to the regulations with respect to the issue of their pay. That was accordingly done, and when the sick and wounded were removed to Scutari, an officer was sent to act as paymaster at the hospital; but it would appear that he was totally ignorant of the regulations of the service, for he departed from the official routine, and did not afford the men those facilities to which they were entitled. When the subject was brought to his notice in that House by the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire, he instantly wrote to Scutari that those men who had not had the facilities to which they were entitled had been grossly ill-treated, and that they ought immediately to be made aware of their right to remit money to their friends at home. It was true that when the men arrived at Scutari from Balaklava they had no statement as to the amount of money due to them. He was not surprised that that should occasionally have happened; but the officers at Scutari ought to have done immediately what he knew they had done since—paid every man on account from the day he left Balaklava. He hoped the evil was now rectified; if not, he trusted his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of War would look to it, and would select the best men he could find and send them out to replace those who were inefficient. He ought to mention that the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside) asked him some time ago whether it was true that the men in hospital at Scutari had 9d. deducted as stoppage from their pay. He announced at once that the men in hospital from injuries or sickness contracted during operations in the field were not liable to any stoppage beyond the ordinary stoppage 1942 for rations. No more they had; but the hon. and learned Gentleman had some reason to put the question, for he found afterwards that the regulations had been violated, and the men obliged to submit to a stoppage of 9d. out of their pay. He might add, however, that upon hearing that fact he instantly wrote to Scutari, to the effect that, whatever might be the inconvenience, every farthing of the money so taken from the men should be paid back.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, it was observable that whenever any abuse was brought before that House, it was sure to be attributed to "routine." Was there no way of killing routine?
§ MR. A. STAFFORD
said, that since the right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary at War seemed to be dissatisfied with the result produced by his letters he could not do better than to try what would be the effect of his presence at Scutari in person. The right hon. Gentleman might do so now without any considerable inconvenience, inasmuch as he was relieved from the responsibility of office. If his Parliamentary duties stood in the way of the right hon. Gentleman's taking that step, he (Mr. Stafford) could only say that he should be happy to pair with him for the remaining portion of the Session, and should they proceed together to Scutari, he would promise to point out to the right hon. Gentleman much to remedy, to which he might with advantage apply his official knowledge.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that he did not think that the communication upon the part of the War Office, to which the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) had referred, was altogether free from the objections which had been urged against it. He thought it was but right that under present circumstances every facility should be afforded to those who wished to assist our soldiers in the Crimea. At the same time it was but fair to say that the communication in question was well-meant, and the intention of the writer had been to convey the impression that the soldiers at Scutari were not in want of money. It was also right to observe that that communication had not been sent to the War Office. The only letter which had been addressed to that office had been a simple inquiry with reference to sending out a certain sum of money. He believed that every facility had been given to our soldiers to remit money, and he might 1943 state that 18,000l. had been sent from Lord Raglan's army, and had, in small sums, been paid, through regimental paymasters, to relatives of the soldiers in this country.
§ CAPTAIN ARCHDALL
said, he was sure there must have been some exaggeration in the statements in the letters from the female friends of soldiers in the hospital to the effect that if they did not receive remittances they would be obliged to resort to prostitution. The Central Association had been established for the express purpose of supporting the wives and families of soldiers sent to the East, and he knew it had supported no less than 13,000 persons at an expense of about 1,000l. per week.
§ MR. H. HERBERT
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) had stated that some stoppages had been made at Scutari, contrary to the regulations of the service. Was it not possible to ascertain whose fault it was, and to visit the offenders with punishment.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he thought he had stated that the fault lay with the paymaster at Scutari, and that he desired a proper person to be sent out to replace him.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he wished to know what the Government proposed to do with respect to the billeting of the militia in Scotland, where the system was different to that of England, the men not being billeted in public-houses, but on householders. He had received communications from Oban and another place, pointing out the inconvenience which resulted from the system. He wished to know whether barracks were to be built, and buildings set apart for hospitals.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he wished to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government whether he had heard that the principle of voluntary enlistment had been very seriously interfered with by the Bill passed before Christmas, which empowered the Crown to send out the militia to garrison our colonies and military stations abroad? And if so, he would suggest that, instead of sending the militia to those places, the draughts which were now made from them into the regular service might be sent to those places. The chief object of the Militia Bill was to keep in this country a constant standing force in a state of preparation for the national defence; but that object would be interfered with if, as soon as the men 1944 were trained, they should be sent out of the country.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, the amount of militia to be sent abroad under the Bill passed in December last would be so comparatively small as to enable the bulk of the militia to remain in the United Kingdom. There was no answering for erroneous impressions which might be made in men's minds; and it might be possible, though he had not heard of it, that some men were deterred from entering the militia by the notion that they would be sent abroad; but under the recent Act no man could be sent out unless he individually agreed to go, and therefore any such apprehensions were unfounded. With regard to another subject, namely, the holding back of some men in the hope that they would get larger bounty by and bye, as substitutes, the answer to that was the statement he had already made—that there was no intention to have recourse to the ballot; so that such persons would find themselves mistaken.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7) 22,000l., Rewards for distinguished Services.
said, he could not allow this Vote to pass without observing that, after what they had recently seen, it was perfectly obvious that some system should be adopted of recognizing military merit different to any that had hitherto been pursued. He should not have ventured to mention the subject, as it might in some respects be considered as trenching on the prerogative of the Crown, if the late Minister of War had not shadowed forth some distinguished "Order of Merit" as being likely to be established that would embrace all ranks in the army. He must own that he felt very strongly on this point. There already existed an Order, which was conferred both on the army and on the navy—he meant the order of the Bath. It was known that that order was granted not only to those officers who obtained the rank of colonel, but also to post-captains in the navy. Now, what he would suggest was, that this Order should be extended to other classes in both services. It was a hard case that meritorious men, whether captains of companies, lieutenants, and ensigns, or non-commissioned officers and privates, who had behaved with gallantry in the field, and conducted themselves well in every other respect, should not be rewarded with some mark of distinction; and if he wished to put the 1945 army on a proper footing, let us institute an Order of Merit to be conferred for services of this character. Such an Order of Merit to have due effect, must carry with it double pay and double pension in the case of the non-commissioned officer or private; and if this were done, the greatest stimulus would be given to emulation among all ranks in the army, from the lowest to the highest. An Order of Merit, accompanied by double pay and double pension, would do infinitely more good in this respect than all the commissions that could be given to men who had not adequate means of supporting themselves in their new position. The day did not appear to be far distant when the purchase of commissions would be abolished, but in effecting this change justice must be done to the claims of those who had invested large sums of money to gain an entrance into the service, otherwise a gross act of spoliation would be committed against them. The military Order of the Bath he therefore trusted would be carried a little further, and be extended to deserving captains and subalterns, without additional pay. It was earnestly to be hoped that the Government would take this matter into their serious consideration, and speedily carry into effect some such plan with regard to it as had been shadowed out by the noble Duke late at the head of the War Department.
§ MR. APSLEY PELLATT
said, that what he had to complain of was that sergeants were placed at a disadvantage in comparison with privates and corporals, who received good conduct money, which the sergeant lost when he reached that step. This appeared to him an anomaly, and an injustice that required to be redressed. As the colonels and generals in the House did not come forward to advocate the interests of these subordinate officers, but confined all their sympathies to the higher class of officers, he would come forward in their behalf, and do his best to get the injustice remedied. When a sergeant was promoted he paid 3d. a day for his clothing more than corporals did, and in reality promotion placed him in a worse position than before. If the war was to be popular, the interests of the army ought to be properly attended to.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he wished to call attention to an abuse which was a consequence of the mode in which this vote was administered. When a colonel 1946 was promoted to the rank of a general officer he did not, unless he had served a certain number of years as an effective field officer, receive the half-pay of a general, but only that due to him in virtue of his previous commission. In more than one case a general not entitled to general's half-pay had received one of these pensions for distinguished services, and had then been put upon the list of general officers receiving general's half-pay. Now it might very likely happen that a meritorious officer might not have served long enough to entitle him to general officer's pay, and it might therefore be very right to recompense him by a pension for good service. But it was not right then to proceed also to give him general officer's pay because he had obtained this good-service pension. The result of that was that those who had not served long enough to obtain general officer's pay might be better off than those who had. If definite rules were laid down for the guidance of the service, they certainly ought to be abided by.
said, he quite agreed with the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Pellatt) in thinking it very hard that a corporal should lose his good-service pay on being promoted to the rank of a sergeant.
§ MR. WARNER
said, he would take that opportunity of expressing the regret with which he had heard hon. Members attack the conduct of Lord Raglan and the officers in the Crimea, because at the present moment he did not believe that they possessed sufficient data to judge of the conduct of those officers. It rested on the responsibility of the Government to recall them or continue them in their commands if they felt satisfied with them; but he was convinced that an inquiry perfectly independent of that moved for by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, or the Commission which had been sent out, would take place before long at the bar of public opinion with respect to the calamities which had befallen our army in the present war. If that Tribunal should acquit the late Ministers and Lord Raglan, he was confident that there was no class of men upon whom suspicion would more immediately fall than those officers, and he thought they were prejudging the question by granting them rewards at the present moment. He should move that the Vote be reduced by 200l., being the amount to be paid to the Quartermaster General and Adjutant General in the Crimea.
said, he believed that our disasters in the Crimea had been owing to the smallness of our troops there in proportion to the duties imposed on them. Could the Quartermaster General be blamed if men could not be spared for making roads? He did not know how England could expect to get either generals or admirals to serve her; for no sooner had those officers undertaken their commands, than their reputation was pretty sure to be assailed.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that the pensions proposed to be given to the Quartermaster Generals and Adjutant Generals of the army in the Crimea were to be awarded to them for good service in the face of the enemy at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, and he did not think that giving rewards for such conduct could at all fetter the House in coming to a judgment upon the general arrangements for the management of the army made by those officers, which was to be the subject of investigation before the Select Committee of that House.
§ VISCOUNT EBRINGTON
said, he thought that some provision should be made for defraying the cost of the outfits of the sergeants to whom commissions were to be given.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, he thought there was no period in history where our officers had met with treatment so unjust as had been awarded to Lord Ragan and our officers in the Crimea, they having been condemned by many hon. Members without being afforded the least opportunity of being heard. He could not concur in the proposition of the hon. Member to reduce the Vote by depriving the Adjutant and Quartermaster General of the sum awarded to them. Great blame had been attributed to some officers in the Crimea, especially those on the staff; but he hoped that when the matter was fully investigated, they would be brought before a tribunal a little less vague than that of public opinion.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, according to the statement he had seen in the public press, the Commander in Chief had been authorised to promote one sergeant in each 1948 regiment. He wished to know why the sergeants in each of the three battalions of guards were not appointed to Commissions in their own regiments?
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he thought the hon. Gentleman had arrived at an erroneous conclusion. The order was that a Commission should be granted to a noncommissioned officer in each regiment; but, in order to lose no time in carrying that order into effect, Lord Raglan had power to give temporary rank to the new Commissions, each in his own regiment.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he would be glad if the Under Secretary for the War Office would answer his question.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
was understood to say that he was not aware of the distinction, and that the matter rested entirely with the Commander in Chief.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he thought that in granting the promotion it was impossible to separate those who received it from their own regiments. He trusted that his hon. Friend (Mr. Warner) would press his Amendment.
§ MR. WARNER
said, that in deference to the opinion of the Committee he would not press his Amendment.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.