HC Deb 13 June 1879 vol 246 c1811

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, in the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, men of the first Class Army Reserve, who may volunteer to rejoin the Colours, can be accepted; and, if so, whether any steps have been or are about to be taken to make this fact generally known; and, if, on the other hand, it is not competent for such volunteers to rejoin under the provisions of "The Enlistment Act, 1870," he proposes to introduce a short Bill amending that Act.


Sir, at an earlier period of the Session, when the hon. and gallant Member for Sunderland (Sir Henry Havelock) asked a similar Question, I was obliged to answer that, as I was then advised, many of the First Class Army Reserve men could not volunteer to join the Colours except for a period of six months. The question was referred to the Law Officers of the Crown, and they had a further consultation with the Lord Chancellor, and, I believe, with other legal authorities; and it is now held that the section of the Act which was supposed to be doubtful does admit of those men volunteering to join the Colours. It is, therefore, proposed to take advantage of this interpretation to a limited extent. It is proposed to make this known by an Army Circular, which I hope will be issued in the course of a few days; and I may add, the number of men to which it is proposed to limit the volunteering will be such as still to keep the numbers within the total provided for by Parliament at the commencement of the year, so that it will not be necessary to ask for any Supplementary Vote.