asked the Secretary of State for War, How many Captains in the last examination for promotion in the Army failed to pass; whether of the five Captains of the Northumberland Fusiliers who failed to satisfy the examiners four are Adjutants of Militia and Volunteer battalions, and whether he will state how their regimental duties are to be performed during the summer months while they are preparing for the next examination; whether, although the general standard of the examination may not have been lately altered, it is not a fact that the marks have been given more sparingly, and the minimum number necessary to receive a pass has been raised; and, whether failure does not in some cases render officers of long service who have distinguished themselves in time of war liable to be superseded by juniors who have never been out of the United Kingdom?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, as I have already stated, 85 officers failed out of 227 who were examined. Of the five captains referred to in the Question, who failed in the Northumberland Fusiliers, one was adjutant in a Line battalion, one in a Militia battalion, and two in Volunteer battalions. If an officer who is an adjutant finds that preparation for an examination interferes with his duty as adjutant, there is no alternative for him but to resign his adjutancy. It is not a fact that marks have been given more sparingly, nor has the minimum necessary for obtaining a pass been raised since the year 1880. The examiners have invariably received the same instructions. Failure to pass may, of course, render an officer of long and distinguished service liable to supersession by a junior officer without foreign service.