HC Deb 26 June 1888 vol 327 cc1271-2
MR. P. M'DONALD (Sligo, N.)

asked the Secretary of State for War, If the following report in The Irish Times of June 18, from its military correspondent, is a correct description of the equipment of the "Duke of Connaught's Own Sligo Artillery Militia":— All the arms, knapsacks, and great coats of the gunners were obsolete, the two latter simply rotten and quite unserviceable, whilst the carbines of the oldest pattern were many grooveless and all unbrowned. Even on parade, it was stated, some knapsacks in the Brigade (issued before the Crimean War to the then Sligo Rifles) fell off, so rotten were straps, buckles, and canvas. The great coats, also relics of ante-Crimean days (1852 their date), literally honeycombed with moths, of unpleasant odour, of many patterns, with capes and without them, and nearly all unable, apparently, to retain even the weight of a button, so many were deficient of these necessary connecting links, were totally unfit for issue, and should have been condemned years ago,' and, if so, whether ho will take immediate steps to give this regiment a proper equipment?


asked whether, in view of the unsatisfactory state of Militia equipment and organization generally, and the suggestions which were put before the War Office Committee, the right hon. Gentleman would consider the advisability of collecting more evidence from officers of experience in the force?

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

I should like to have Notice of the latter Question. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, the calling of evidence before that Committee is not within my control. As to the Question on the Paper, I have received Reports from the officer commanding the Brigade and from the Inspecting Officer of Royal Artillery. One hundred and forty-eight of the great-coats are old, though not so old as stated in the Question; and they have not yet been used for the regulated number of trainings, and can be made use of. The great-coats at present in use are of the Rifle pattern; but I will consider whether Artillery great-coats might not be issued. The arms are in serviceable condition; they are browned every six years; and this happens to be the year for browning after the training.