HC Deb 27 November 1890 vol 349 cc125-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if the new Warrant coming into force on 1st January, 1891, definitely decrees that after the Establishment of General Officers is reduced to its future number, promotion to that grade shall only be by selection; if, pending the reduction of General Officers to the future number, it is intended that there shall only be one Senior Colonel promoted to the rank of Major General for every third vacancy that occurs in the Major Generals' List; if so, whether any Colonels who were Field Officers when purchase was abolished, and are still on the Active List, will be precluded from attaining the rank of Major General, owing to the excessive tardiness of this promotion causing them to be retired as Colonels through the Age Clauses; and if, in view of the terms of the Royal Warrant of 1st November, 1871, abolishing purchase and decreeing that all senior qualified officers of every grade shall be eligible for promotion, he will re-consider the terms of the new Warrant?

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

From January 1 next the number of General Officers will be gradually reduced till it reaches a fixed limit, after that promotion to Major General will only be by selection to fill an appointment or as a reward for service in the field. Until the General Officers on the Active List are reduced to 100, every second vacancy for promotion to Major General will be absorbed. How far the vacancies not absorbed may fall to Senior Colonels must depend upon circumstances. The number of Colonels who, when purchase was abolished, had purchased rights as Majors will not in January exceed 20. The absorption of vacancies undoubtedly increases the chance that some of these will be compulsorily retired. I presume that the reference in the last question is intended to be to the Royal Warrant of October 30, 1871 (though that is not the Warrant abolishing purchase). In that Warrant it appears to me that the mode of promotion laid down to the rank of Major General was selection. I may add that a Colonel of the class referred to, if injured by compulsory retirement, has a claim to compensation. I do not, therefore, as at present advised, see the special hardship of this class of cases, but I will consider the matter further.