HC Deb 23 February 1891 vol 350 cc1355-6
VISCOUNT WOLMER (Hants, Petersfield)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War how many soldiers of the Guards are every day employed on sentry duty connected with St. James's Palace, Kensington Palace, the War Office, the Home Office, and the Foreign Office; whether the medical officers have ever reported sentry duty as a cause of ill-health and invaliding among the soldiers of the Brigade of Guards; and whether he has any reason to suppose that the great amount of sentry duty in London has an unfavourable effect on the recruiting for the Brigade of Guards?


This matter has recently been before me, and considerable reductions have been effected. At the present time the sentries at the points indicated in the question are 14, furnished by a guard of 42 men. Since 1885 the medical officers of the Guards have not reported against sentry duty. On the contrary, in 1886 and 1888 they reported that the duties were not too severe. Too heavy sentry duty is unpopular, and probably has an unfavourable effect on recruiting, but every effort has been made to reduce it to a reasonable extent in London. I am also inclined to agree in the opinion expressed by one of my predecessors in 1883, when he said— Sentry duty is doubtless irksome, and is much disliked, but it is a very necessary part of a soldier's training, indispensable in War, and one for which some practice in peace is requisite.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeen, W.)

Is it true that at certain periods of the year the Guards in London have on an average, owing to sentry duty, only four and a half nights in bed per week?


This may have been so in the past, but it is not so now.