HC Deb 18 July 1872 vol 212 cc1359-60

asked the Secretary of State for War, What steps have been taken to carry out the regulations recommended by the Departmental Committee of 1871 for extending the system of instructing and employing soldiers (so soon as the necessary drills are acquired) in trades and on public works; whether suitable workshops have been allotted to the various barracks on the home stations; whether a qualified officer has been appointed to each regiment to supervise the industrial training of the men, and to look after the workshops, in accordance with the statement he made last year; whether it is now his intention to make the repair of barrack damages and fair wear and tear dilapidations compulsory on the troops; how far it is intended to utilize military labour in the erection of the large number of barracks about to be built; and, whether he will state what additional steps he proposes to take to establish a more uniform system for utilising the spare time of the troops for the public benefit and their own advantage?


, in reply, said, Pioneers of the following trades—namely, carpenters, bricklayers, smiths, masons, painters and glaziers, plumbers, and gas-fitters—have been selected and appointed in each regiment at home. These men, assisted by others who had learnt trades prior to enlistment, have performed a portion of the barrack repairs, and have worked for the Royal Engineer Department. Regimental workshops have been established at some stations by the re-appropriation of accommodation where it could be spared. At other places—the Curragh and Portobello—workshops have been built; and at some other places sites have been selected for the future erection of such buildings. In nine battalions officers have been appointed. In the other cases the time has not arrived at which it has been considered necessary that the appointment should be made. The men work under the direction of the pioneer. By the General Orders of 1871, Nos. 67 and 68, commanding officers are directed to arrange with the Royal Engineers and Control Departments for the repairs and alterations to barracks and the repair of furniture and utensils being performed, when practicable, by the artificers of the regiments, and to give every encouragement to men who can be spared from regimental duty to work in those departments. Endeavours will be made to utilize military labour as far as possible. If when the system is in full work any defects shall be disclosed, requiring further measures to be taken, the necessity will be duly considered.