HC Deb 20 July 1874 vol 221 cc293-4

asked the Secretary of State for War, If his attention has been called to a statement published in the "Western Daily Mercury" of May 19th, alleging that a serious fraud on the public purse had taken place in a Cavalry Regiment; and, if so, will he state when the case was first brought to the notice of the authorities, and what steps have been or will be taken to investigate the matter?


, in reply, said, that, according to the statement in question, which appeared in a letter in The Western Daily Mercury, signed "Vedette "—and which could not be said to be anonymous, since the proprietors of the paper had promised, if required to give the real one—an officer of a cavalry regiment had availed himself of the privilege of taking a horse from the ranks, of the value of £50, and after keeping it for a short time as his charger, had returned it with one of its legs broken, and had not paid for it, but had taken another horse from the ranks in its stead. That was a very serious charge, and it was duly investigated; any delay that occurred arising from the absence on leave of the commanding officer. The facts of the case were these—The officer in question asked to be allowed to select a particular mare from the ranks for his charger, and the commanding officer expressed a doubt as to her fitness, but permitted her to be tried. In the school she showed temper and threw up her head, nearly stunning him, and after being returned to the ranks, she received a kick from a stable companion, which broke her leg. It was absolutely untrue that the officer in question had had another horse from the ranks since.