HC Deb 15 April 1872 vol 210 cc1264-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, If he has any objection to state to the House the nature of the charge brought by Major Marshall, of the 9th Lancers, at a recent Court of inquiry held at Aldershot, against an Officer who was the first to receive a Commission without purchase in that Regiment; and, whether His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding in Chief, has given his decision in the case, and what is the nature of that decision? He wished it to be understood that he put the Question entirely in support of the military authorities.


wished, before the right hon. Gentleman answered the Question, to ask, as this was a matter of purely regimental discipline that had already been decided by His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding in Chief, Whether he thinks it convenient that Questions of that sort should be made the subject of inquiry in that House, and whether he does not think such a proceeding is calculated to weaken military authority; and, further, whether it really is the case that the Officer referred to as having been the first Officer appointed without purchase was really the first Officer so appointed, or whether there was not three other Officers in that Regiment who received their Commissions in the same manner before him?


Sir, I am certainly of opinion that it would not be desirable for the discipline of the Army that the practice of asking Questions with regard to cases of discipline disposed of by His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief should become general. My impression is that the House generally will concur in that view; but, as I understand, my hon. Friend (Mr. Holms) has put this Question with no desire to impugn the decision, but rather, as he said, in support of the authorities. He wishes the facts to be stated, and under those circumstances I do not see any reason why I should not state them. The facts are these—A complaint was made by Major Marshall attributing to Sub-Lieutenant Tribe conduct unworthy of his position as an officer, and at the same time a complaint was made on the part of Sub-Lieutenant Tribe against Major Marshall and against the officers of the regiment. These complaints were investigated by a Court of Inquiry, of which Major General Lysons was the President. The proceedings of that Court of Inquiry were reported to His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief; and his decision is, that Sub-Lieutenant Tribe shall return to his duty, and that the commanding officer of the regiment shall be responsible for his being received in a proper manner by the officers of the regiment. As to whether he was the first officer appointed without purchase, it is not quite accurate to say that he was the first, but he was one of the first.


I beg to give Notice that I shall move for the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry, and the decision of His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief.