HC Deb 21 November 1884 vol 294 cc132-3

asked the Secretary of State for War, If the Militia Forces are short of their full strength of officers by 980; whether officers of the Militia Brigades and Battalions who have volunteered for active service in the Expedition to South Africa, having previously served in the Army with credit and ability and been recommended for promotion, have not been declared by the Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief and the Acting Adjutant General to be ineligible for such service, notwithstanding that, both by the Regulations and in the public statement of General Lord Wolseley, the Militia Forces "are now completely amalgamated with the Service Brigades and Battalions;" and, whether, to encourage retired officers of the Army to join the Militia, the Government will consider the desirability of giving them the opportunities of employment which would be afforded if this disability was removed?


The Militia Forces are short of their full strength of officers by 857, including 70 vacancies caused by appointments to the Line during the last few days. The word "ineligible," as applied to Militia officers who had volunteered for service in the Expedition to South Africa, was not happily chosen. They were ineligible only in the sense that it had been previously determined to limit employment in South Africa to officers serving on full-pay with regiments. From that it will be seen that the disability re- ferred to in the last paragraph of the Question would not exist if an emergency arose in which it might be convenient to accept the service of Militia officers, without unduly withdrawing them from the Militia battalions. I may add that the vacancies in the Infantry battalions caused by the selection of officers for service in South Africa have been offered to officers of the Militia battalions of the same territorial regiment who may desire temporary military duty.