§ MR. ALFRED THOMAS (Glamorgan, B.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the number of rank and file in the 1st Cardiff detachment, which at the close of the last volunteer year on 31st October, 1889, was 115, has now fallen to 60, and that between that date and the 1st of July, 1890, 58 have resigned, 1612 and only three recruits have been enrolled; whether he is aware that the number of rank and file in the 2nd Cardiff detachment, which on 31st October, 1889, was 324, is now less than 260, and that the resignations since that date do amount to upwards of 90, and the recruits to 26 only; whether it has been reported to him that the average attendance at the parades in uniform of the Cardiff detachment is now about 50, as against an average attendance of the two detachments combined last year of more than double that number; whether his attention has been called to the remarks of the Colonel commanding the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Welsh Regiment, at the parade of the Cardiff detachment on the 16th of June, expressing surprise at the muster being such a small one, and stating that, unless the attendance at drills improved, he would have to reduce the strength of the detachment from six to four companies, and also to the announcement on parade within the last fortnight that the Officer commanding the detachment will pay 2s. 6d. to each member of the detachment for every recruit introduced by him; and whether, in view of the fact that the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Welsh Regiment consists of 23 companies stationed in 10 towns in the Eastern portion of the County of Glamorgan, accupying an area measuring 25 miles in length, and that the Colonel Commandant resides at a distance of 24 miles from the headquarters of the Battalion, he will consider the advisability of reverting to the old system, and divide the present very large Battalion into two Battalions?
§ *MR. E. STANHOPE
The hon. Member has considerably over-stated the case, but the Cardiff companies are undoubtedly suffering from a deficiency of recruits. The average attendance on parade of the Cardiff detachment is reported to be over 100. The number of resignations is always greatest between November and January, and is partly due to the migratory character of the population; of those referred to in the question, the majority occurred before the amalgamation of the two Cardiff detachments. It is true that the Colonel lives 24 miles from Cardiff, but he is within easy reach by rail, and lives in the centre of a large population, from which a great proportion of his men are drawn. Reports from the Authorities on the spot 1613 show the battalion generally to be in a high state of efficiency—there being more efficients this year than ever before—and, in my opinion, no sufficient cause has been shown for abandoning a system which, on the whole, is working extremely well.