SIR HENRY TYLEE (Great Yarmouth)
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, in consequence of the transfer recently of Lieutenant Gordon from the Royal Marine Artillery to the Royal Engineers, Lieutenant Gordon now takes rank before the 193 officers who have obtained their commissions in the Royal Engineers since February, 1883; whether those 193 officers have each been placed one step lower in the corps of Royal Engineers as the result of that transfer; whether there is any precedent for such a transfer in such a manner to the corps; whether the transfer of Lieutenant Gordon was made with the assent of the Deputy Adjutant General Royal Engineers, and on the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief; by what Minister, as Secretary for War, the transfer was approved; and, in what manner this transfer was legalized, in the absence of any provisions in the Royal Warrant permitting such a course to be pursued?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
My answer to the first two Questions of my hon. Friend is yes. There is no precedent for such a transfer. It was made with the assent of the Deputy Adjutant General Royal Engineers, and on the recommendation of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief. It was approved by my Predecessor and by myself. The grant of Army rank is legally a matter of Royal prerogative. But I may say generally that this case is entirely exceptional; and that the corps of Royal Engineers gladly welcome among them the nephew of so distinguished an officer as General Gordon.