HC Deb 22 May 1879 vol 246 cc1018-9

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty a Question which, to some extent, followed upon the one which had just been answered by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. It was, Whether it is not the case that there in this country and disposable for foreign service about 2,000 seasoned soldiers of the Royal Marines; and, if so, what hinders the employment of these soldiers on service for which they are especially qualified in South Africa; and, whether difficulties exist in consequence of a difference of views between the Admiralty and War Department as the employment or command of the Royal Marines on such service?


It is perfectly true that there are about 2,000, or even more, Royal Marines, seasoned soldiers, and fit to embark for the seat of war if their services are required. I have already stated in this House that it is the intention of the Government, should it become necessary to send out battalions for the seat of war, to send first of all a battalion of Marines. There is nothing to hinder the employment of these soldiers in the Service, for which they are specially qualified. In. answer to the latter part of my hon. Friend's Question, I may say there is the most perfect agreement between the Admiralty and the War Department in this matter, and their views are entirely identical.


asked when the despatch from Lord Chelmsford, in which he asked for three additional battalions, would be laid upon the Table?


I received a despatch last night slightly extending the telegraphic request. I did not wish to convey the idea that reinforcements had been refused. At the present moment the matter is still under consideration, and some drafts have been placed under orders, that is all. I generally publish such despatches as are of interest in the earliest Gazette; and other Papers are in course of time, and as occasion requires, laid before Parliament. The larger portion of the Correspondence received is of a Departmental character, and could not be laid before the House.


Will this particular despatch be given to us?


Oh yes.