HC Deb 21 February 1856 vol 140 cc1048-50

asked the Clerk of the Ordnance whether it was true that the saddles recently supplied to the 2nd Regiment of German Cavalry were so bad that the commanding officer refused to receive them, as they would have injured the backs of the horses; that a board, of which Colonel Baldares, from Maidstone, was a Member, condemned every one of them; that when Brigadier General Stutterheim inspected tins regiment, in charging ten bits broke in two in the horses' mouths; that, from the cloth of the overalls being so bad, or from its not having been shrunk before being wrought up, in many cases it has been complained that, when wet, the leather with which they were strapped had come away from it?


said, the saddles to which the hon. Baronet referred had not been refused by the commanding officer of the regiment, but they had been condemned, as the hon. Baronet had stated, by a board of which Colonel Baldares was a member. The board, however, which condemned these saddles had not seen the pattern according to which they had been made, for they were made after a new pattern, which was adopted by the Commander in Chief in June last. In this pattern screws were used instead of straps for attaching the seats to the trees, and it was therefore most necessary that well-seasoned wood should be used for the saddle-trees. They were procured from Bedford and Rand's, one of the best houses in London. It was only fair to this firm to state that similar complaints had been made, in several instances, of saddles supplied by the best houses in London, according to the old pattern; and the answer had in all cases been an admission of the fault, and a statement that owing to the unexampled demand for saddlery it had been found impossible to obtain sufficiently seasoned wood. In order to obviate such occurrences for the future, the Government had determined to keep in hand a stock of well-seasoned saddle-trees, and had appointed inspectors of saddlery—two non-commissioned officers—who had served some time in the cavalry, and had been recommended as competent persons. With respect to the subject of the second question of the hon. Baronet, he had to state that it was quite true that the bits broke as he had mentioned. They were vulcanised iron bits, of a pattern adopted during last year by the Commander in Chief upon the recommendation of a committee of cavalry officers; but as they had been found to be failures their use had been discontinued. With respect to the overalls, they were supplied by Messrs, Hibbert and Co., the great army clothiers, and were defective, in all probability, in consequence of the men's measures not having been taken for them; for they were necessarily ordered before the men for whom they were intended had arrived in this country. But, as it seemed that in the case of the cavalry, it was important that each man's clothes should be made to his individual measure, the authorities had determined upon a new system for the cavalry, by which each regiment would make up its own clothing, the Government supplying the materials.


inquired by whom the clothing was inspected before it was sent to the regiment?


replied, that in this instance the clothing was inspected at the Tower by the ordinary inspectors. He might mention that at present all clothing was inspected by persons specially appointed under the Director General of Clothing; and that the persons so appointed were selected on account of their fitness for this particular duty.

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