HC Deb 03 November 1884 vol 293 cc788-9

rose to put the following Question:—To ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether the official Annual Army List, dated January 17th 1884, is correct in showing that four hundred and fifty-five Quartermasters in the Army, out of which number only six, being under thirty-two years of age, are eligible for Lieutenancies; whether these six Quartermasters can, after seven years' service, enter the Army Department; whether the remaining four hundred and forty-nine Quartermasters are entirely debarred from the Pay Department, and from all substantive promotion; whether seven young Quartermasters were promoted by favour to Lieutenancies on July 2nd 1884; whether these Quartermasters will be permitted to reach the Pay Department over the heads of these four hundred and forty-nine Quartermasters; whether this oppression of the Quartermasters is because they are raised from the poorer class people; and, whether this system was recommended to Her Majesty by the present Government?


Before this Question is put by the hon. Member and answered, I have to observe that one of the paragraphs in the Question has escaped notice, and has inadvertently been allowed to appear on the Notice Paper. The paragraph I refer to is the sixth paragraph on the top of page 8. It is an improper and irregular paragraph, and I shall not allow it to be put. I therefore hope that no notice will be taken of it.


The official Army List of January, 1884, may be accepted as correct with reference both to the ages and the numbers of Army Quartermasters. Only six were then eligible for lieutenancies, since by the Royal Warraut for Pay and Promotion, Article 6, a Quartermaster cannot be granted a commission as lieutenant if he exceeds 32 years of age. These six Quartermasters can, after seven years' service in the rank of lieutenant, become eligible as candidates for the Army Pay Department, provided that they do not then exceed 40 years of age. The reply to the third Question is involved in the answers to Nos. 1 and 2. In reply to No. 4, I have to say that it is not true that seven young Quartermasters were promoted by favour to lieutenancies on July 2, 1884. The answer to No. 5 is that if these officers, at the end of seven years' service in the combatant ranks, become candidates, and are accepted as such, for the Pay Department, they will pass over the heads of the Quartermasters who were disqualified for lieutenancies by age. The answer to No. 6 I am to omit. In answer to No. 7, I have to say that this system of promotion to the Pay Department was not instituted by the present Government, but has been in operation since the formation of the Pay Department in 1876.