HC Deb 21 July 1881 vol 263 c1463

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the War Office authorities, when they decided to make no alteration in the Veterinary Warrant of 1878 in favour of those Veterinary Surgeons who entered the Service under the conditions of the Warrant of 1859, had considered the fact that these officers, under the Warrant of 1859, were eligible for promotion to rank of Captain after five years' service, but are now only eligible after twelve years' service, whilst Riding Masters and Quartermasters are promoted to that rank after ten years' service; if he will explain why these Veterinary Surgeons should not be placed on an equality as regards relative rank with Riding Masters and Quartermasters, and why they should be left in a far worse position than that occupied by any other class of Commissioned Officers in the Service; and, whether he will consider the grievance of Officers who were induced to enter and remain in the Service under the conditions of the Warrant of 1859, and find their position and prospects altered to their disadvantage by the terms of the Warrant of 1878?


In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend's first Question, I have to point out to him that there is a great difference between being eligible for and being entitled to a particular rank. It is true that the Warrant of 1859 made veterinary surgeons eligible for the rank of captain after five years' service; but, as a matter of fact, vacancies were not taking place in 1878 which admitted of promotion within double that time, and, before long, no veterinary surgeon would probably have become a captain under 17 years' service. The Warrant of 1878 gave them rank absolutely after 12 years' service. The whole arrangements about veterinary surgeons have been so recently settled by my Predecessor that I have been reluctant to re-open the question this year; but I will look into it during the autumn, especially with reference to relative rank.