HC Deb 08 August 1890 vol 348 cc248-9
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can explain why soldiers on service in India, who engage to serve in that country for eight years, and whose service expires on any date after the 1st January, are detained till the following trooping season, that is to say, that they have to spend an additional hot season in India beyond what they engaged to do; and why, seeing that the last troopship leaves India for home about the 15th April, all men whose eight years' service has expired previous to that date should not be permitted to return home at that date?

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

A soldier enlists for seven years with the colours, subject to an extension of one year if serving abroad when his seven years come to an end. Except in time of war no men are kept abroad after completing eight years' service, unless by their own consent. The rule for the present year as regards Indian service is that all men who complete seven years' service—that is, seven years in all—by December 31, shall be brought home during the trooping season which ends on April 17, 1891.


I think that the question, which has been altered since I handed it in, scarcely conveys the information I was desirous of obtaining. What I want to call attention to is the hardship imposed upon the men whose term of seven years' service expires shortly after the 31st of December, in being compelled to remain in India during the whole of the hot season. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman arrange that those men whose term expires between the 31st of December and the 25th of March shall be brought home at once, without being compelled to remain in India during the hot season?


As the hon. Gentleman does not convey that point in the question upon the Paper, it would perhaps be better that he should put it down again.


I am obliged for the reply which the right hon. Gentleman has given to me, but I must point out to you, Sir, that the Question has been materially altered at the Table. The alteration was not brought to my notice, but owing to the alteration, it is quite clear that a wrong impression has been conveyed to the right hon. Gentleman.


The Question has been altered, but in the particular form in which it appears upon the Paper, it was thought that the substance of the Question had been preserved.


I should be glad to communicate with the right hon. Gentleman on the matter, so as to make it quite clear what it is that I want to know.