HC Deb 28 February 1890 vol 341 cc1510-1
MR. HANKEY (Surrey, Chertsey)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is the case that during several months past troops have been brought from Portsmouth and Aldershot to Bisley Common, to work there for the National Rifle Association; whether he will state the amount of the daily wage paid to each man for the work thus done; and whether in view of the hardship which the use of military labour, as above-mentioned, has entailed upon the local labouring population, by depriving them of the employment which they would otherwise have obtained, he will forthwith direct that such a diminution in the number of soldiers now daily sent to Bisley Common should be made as will admit of employment being found at once for the local labouring population?


The first paragraph of my hon. Friend's question must be answered in the affirmative. The endeavour is always made to carry out military works by military labour; and during the winter months, when drill is largely suspended, such labour is found to be of great physical benefit to the soldier. Having this in view, soldiers have been employed at Bisley in preparing butts which will not merely supply the needs of the National Rifle Association, but will also be of great use for the shooting of the Army and, under regulations, for the Volunteers of the Metropolis and the Southern Coun- ties. We have always rendered assistance of a similar character at Wimbledon. The working pay of the men is 9d. a day, and the National Rifle Association has benefited by the cheapness of the labour. But it is only fair to remember that, on the other hand, the establishment of the camp at Bisley will hereafter be a source of considerable financial advantage to the neighbourhood.