HC Deb 13 June 1878 vol 240 cc1390-1

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, under the circumstance of India being again obliged to borrow two-and-a-half millions to cover expenditure, it would be practicable to give some relief to the embarrassed finances by withdrawing three out of the fifty battalions of European Infantry, especially as the effectives in privates are so far below the established strength of thirty-nine thousand privates, as to be nearly equal to the number of that grade in three battalions; or, if the paper strength of thirty-nine thousand privates must be adhered to, whether that end could not be attained by raising each Infantry company of forty-seven battalions to one hundred and four privates, instead of the nominal present strength of about ninety-seven privates, now fallen to about ninety-two effectives?


in reply, said, he did not think it desirable at present to suggest any change in the number of battalions in the Indian Service, the question having been carefully considered and settled in 1870. It was a mistake to suppose that the establishment of the rank and file in India was always under its strength. It was true the number in each company varied; but the companies were not always under their strength, but, on the contrary, were sometimes over it, the fluctuation being due to the fact that troops could only be sent out to India at a particular season of the year.