HC Deb 17 May 1881 vol 261 cc684-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, If the officers of the Coast Brigade Royal Artillery, by the abolition of the lieutenant-colonelcy of the brigade, have been debarred. from rising in the regiment beyond the rank of captain; if, on the recommendation of Lord Morley's Committee, one majority only is proposed to be granted to the whole of the brigade; and, whether, taking into consideration the fact that the Coast Brigade is the only opening for master gunners and superior noncommissioned officers to the combatant commissioned ranks in a regiment numbering 34,000 men, he would, before the publication of the new warrant, be prepared to consider the concessions sought by the officers of the Coast Brigade, viz.:—The granting of four majorities, inclusive of present establishment (the proportion granted to the Royal Marine Artillery); and the revival of the lieutenant-colonelcy?


In reply to the Question of my hon. Friend, I really must appeal to him to consider whether it is desirable that specific proposals for increase of establishments, involving large additional expenditure, should be pressed on me by an independent Member in the House of Commons. I should not so much deprecate a general Question asking me if I had inquired into the organization of any particular corps; but it is very difficult to exercise economical control in these matters in the face of elaborate claims of this kind put forward in Questions to Ministers. As to the particular case of the Coast Brigade, I have to remind my hon. Friend that the officers and men are under the orders of the officers commanding the Artillery of their respective districts; and I can see no reason for granting to these particular officers, who have not received a scientific education, like the other officers of Artillery, higher ranks than that now enjoyed. We are, as my hon. Friend's Question shows that he is aware, adding one majority to the establishment, which, since 1872, has consisted of captains and lieutenants.