HC Deb 24 May 1867 vol 187 cc1023-4

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, If there is any known instance of a Militia Deserter being sentenced by a General Court Martial to limited or unlimited service in Her Majesty's other Forces under s. 127, 42 Geo. III. c. 90; and, if so, the date of such sentence, and the name or number of the Regiment in which such Deserter was sentenced to serve; if s. 13, 16 & 17 Vict. c. 133, called the Militia Law Amendment Act, is not the usual Act and Clause under which Deserters from the Militia are sentenced to fine or imprisonment, not exceeding three months in the House of Correction; and, if he does not think it proper to repeal s. 127, 42 Geo. III. c. 90, by which the Army is made a penal corps for Militia Deserters?


, in reply, said, he had caused inquiry to be made in the War Office if any cases had been recorded of sentencing militiamen to service in the army for desertion, and in the limited inquiry it had been only possible to make, no trace could be found of militiamen having been so sentenced. It was difficult to say with accuracy or certainty what had been the operation of the clause that had been in practice for sixty years. With regard to the second part of the Question, his answer was "certainly not," because that part of the Act was repealed by an Act of the 17 & 18 Vict.; and in reply to the last part of the Question, he had to state that, considering the course the Government had already intimated with reference to the Militia Reserve Act, and the extraordinary feeling which appeared to exist amongst military men on both sides of the House upon the subject, the best course to pursue would be to repeal the clause.