HC Deb 14 March 1887 vol 312 cc187-8
MR. SEALE-HAYNE (Devon, Ashburton)

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will take into consideration the case of Regimental Sergeant Majors, who have been deprived of the relative rank and privileges granted to them as Warrant Officers in 1881, and enjoyed by them up to the date of the Queen's Regulations issued in November, 1885, and also of Army Warrant Officers of the second and third class (including Regimental Sergeant Majors), who, not being mentioned in the General Order, No. 28, of the 1st March, 1886, only rank when on board Her Majesty's Ships with Chief Petty Officers, and have thus been deprived of the advantages and position duo to their Warrant rank; and, whether he will take steps to restore Army Warrant Officers to the position in which they were placed in 1881?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

The question of the relative rank with the Navy to be allowed to Warrant Officers of the Army is extremely complicated, and I can scarcely deal with it within the limits of an answer. If, however, the hon. Member can make it convenient to call upon me at the War Office, I will explain to him the position of the question, and will consider any specific grievance he can adduce.


asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will renew to all Warrant Officers in the Army the privileges enjoyed by them in 1881, and which in 1885 were limited to two classes—namely, conductors and first and second class master-gunners?


I am not quite sure which are the privileges to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. If, however, he alludes to that of being permitted to appear out of uniform—which, as the hon. and gallant Member is aware, does not extend to non-commissioned officers or private soldiers—I would observe that, before 1881, the Warrant Officers were very few in number, and almost necessarily serving away from other Warrant Officers. In those circumstances, no inconvenience was felt in allowing them the same undress privileges as are accorded to officers. When, however, by the Royal Warrant of 1881, the rank of Warrant Officer was very largely extended, and was subdivided into many classes, it was anticipated that there would be military disadvantage in allowing them such great liberty in the matter of dress; and the now classes of Warrant Officers were limited for plain clothes to times when on pass, or furlough, and leaving the place where they are stationed. So far as I can learn, no ground exists for any relaxation of this rule.