HC Deb 06 August 1857 vol 147 cc1150-1

said, he would beg to ask the Under Secretary for War whether the troops that have been sent to India have been provided with clothing suitable to the heat of the climate to which they will be exposed; and, if so, if he has any objection to state what provision has been made on that subject?


said, the most satisfactory way in which he could answer the question of the hon. Gentleman would be by reading, with the permission of the House, the list of articles issued to the troops on their arrival in India, in addition to the ordinary supply of necessaries which they had in this country. They were as follows.—For the cavalry four white jackets each, six pairs of white overalls, two pairs of Settringee overalls, six shirts, four pairs of cotton socks, and one pair of white braces. For the infantry, four white jackets, one pair of English summer trousers, five pair of white trousers, five white shirts, two check shirts, and one pair of white braces. Those articles were not supplied in this country, but formed a part of the soldiers' necessaries on his arrival in India, and were made of material made on the spot and best suited to the climate. During his stay in India, China, and Ceylon, and at other hot stations, the soldier was provided with a tunic and shell jacket in alternate years, and in the year in which the tunic was not issued the difference in the value of the two articles was paid to him, to be expended, under the authority of the officer commanding, for his benefit in any articles suited to the climate of the station. In addition to these the troops now going out to China and India had been provided with white cotton helmet and forage cap covers. In fact, the Government had taken every precaution possible to maintain the health and comfort of the troops.


said, he wished to know whether the army in the field before Delhi were wearing the tunic, and also whether all those extra articles referred to by the hon. Baronet were to be carried by the Troops.


said, he likewise should be glad to know whether the white headdress was a substitute for, or to be worn in addition to, the ordinary one, for that made all the difference.


said, in reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel North), he apprehended that the troops now in the field were in possession of the articles he had enumerated, because, under a General Order of the late General Anson, which had been in force for some years, every soldier on his arrival in India was provided with those articles of clothing in addition to those which composed his kit in this country. He had to state, in reply to the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford) that the white linen covers for the forage caps and helmets were to be in addition to what the troops already wore, otherwise they would be of no use.


said, he wished to know whether the soldiers would be expected to carry this large additional weight themselves, or whether any arrangement would be made to carry it for them.


said, he apprehended that such arrangements were left entirely to the discretion of the officer commanding on the station.