§ MAJOR ARBUTHNOT
asked the Surveyor General of Ordnance, Whether he is aware that he was misinformed concerning the Field Battery of Royal Artillery which marched from Aldershot to Bushey Park on the occasion of the recent review; and, whether it is not a fact that fourteen men and twenty-eight horses were borrowed by that battery from a battery of another brigade for the march in question?
§ SIR HENRY STORKS
This Question, I submit, Sir, is one more for the Regimental Orderly Room of the Royal Artillery than for the House of Commons. The reply given by me on the 6th instant was, I am assured by the Deputy Adjutant General of Royal Artillery, correct according to the information at hand. The home peace establishment of men for a field battery is 144. The field battery which marched from Aldershot to Bushey Park had at the time of its march 143 men. It marched with 115 only, being 28 less than its actual strength. It appears by information subsequently received that the battery had 22 horses with their drivers (11 in number) from another field battery to horse extra waggons, and to increase the numbers of horses in the waggons in consequence of the length of the march. This was done by order of the Lieutenant General Commanding at Aldershot. The borrowed drivers are included in the 115 men which marched with the battery, so that it really left in camp at Aldershot 39 men belonging to it.
§ MAJOR ARBUTHNOT
begged to give Notice that he would avail himself of the first opportunity presented by the forms of the House to call attention to the answers of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on the subject. He begged, 1628 in the next place, to ask the Surveyor General of Ordnance, Whether any means exist of providing the requisite men and horses to enable a Battery of Artillery to make such a march as that to Bushey Park without drawing upon other batteries, which are thus crippled, or upon the Depôt which is intended for the training of recruits; whether the Depôt is not at present considerably below its establishment; whether, when at its full strength, it is not only sufficient for its ostensible object, viz. supplying men to keep up batteries abroad upon a peace establishment; and, whether any steps are being taken to provide a bonâ fide Artillery Reserve, whereby batteries of Horse and Field Artillery may be expanded?
§ SIR HENRY STORKS
When the present peace establishment for batteries of artillery was fixed, it was not intended that they should make such a march as that from Aldershot to Bushey Park without receiving help in the way of additional transport, and it was then laid down that the transport so required should, when necessary, be furnished by the Army Service Corps. In consequence of the distance from Aldershot to Bushey, the Lieutenant General in command considered it necessary that the waggons should have additional horses; hence the necessity in this case for borrowing from another battery, the Army Service Corps providing for the general transport. The Depôt Brigade is complete in gunners, and has 139 drivers over its establishment. The depôt, when up to its full establishment, is only intended to supply men to the batteries serving in India and the colonies, the batteries at Malta and Gibraltar being at a full war establishment. In time of emergency the men in the depôt would, of course, be applied to filling up the horse and field batteries at home to the war establishment and for forming batteries in reserve, the draughts for India and the colonies being temporarily suspended. As regards the latter part of the Question, I may observe that short service under the Act of last Session has only as yet been applied to the infantry; but the Government agree with the hon. and gallant Member in the importance which he appears to attach to its extension to the Royal Artillery.