HC Deb 16 November 1882 vol 274 cc1534-5

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether, considering the qualities shown by officers commanding the Royal Marines on land service, he will consider of securing to this arm of the Services a share hitherto denied of the higher commands and appointments; whether, out of the number of their officers who have passed through the Staff College with credit and honour, any have ever been employed on the Staff, or during many years been placed on any Committee for the consideration of Naval or Military matters; and, with whom does the power rest to set this right, whether with the Admiralty, the War Office, or the Horse Guards?


My hon. Friend (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) has asked me to answer this Question. No one has a higher opinion of the Royal Marines than myself, and that opinion is derived, not only from what has come before me at the "War Office, but from my former experience as First Lord of the Admiralty. Last year I authorized the employment of Marine officers on the personal Staff of general officers, who are responsible for these selections; but the difficulty of employing Marine officers on the general Staff of the Army or military officers, which would be the necessary corollary, on the Marine Staff arises out of the circumstance that the War Department keeps no records, and the Commander-in-Chief has, therefore, no knowledge of the services and qualifications of Marine officers, and similarly the Board of Admiralty keep no records and have no knowledge of the services and qualifications of officers of the Army. The question, however, is one which I will consider with His Royal Highness and the Admiralty. Perhaps, as to the last Question, I ought to say that there is now no separate Department of the Horse Guards, and that I presume my hon. Friend means the Military Department of the War Office.


asked if the communications on the subject of the Marines which were going on between the War Office and the Admiralty were extending to the consideration of whether the Marine Force might be brought entirely under the War Office?


replied, that he had not said that communications were going on. What he said was, that he would consult the Board of Admiralty, together with the Commander-in-Chief, on this particular point. He had never heard before of the suggestion of putting the Marines under the War Office, and he should not be very well disposed to entertain it. If the hon. and learned Gentleman thought it was a question worthy of consideration, he should be happy to listen to any argument that might be privately addressed to him.