HC Deb 17 August 1893 vol 16 cc428-9
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the evidence given by official witnesses from the Treasury and War Office before the Committee on Public Accounts, vide Second Report, July 1893, pages 51 to 58, relative to losses of stores in South Africa in 1886 to 1890, and to the supposed responsibility of Major Richards, late store officer in charge of military stores in Natal at Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg, and Durban, and to the correspondence which followed between the War Office and Treasury upon the subject, notably the letters of 8th January and 8th April, 1892, from the War Office, setting forth the views of the Secretary of State for War and His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary to the Treasury will use his influence, with the Lords of the Treasury to secure a reconsideration of Major Richards's case, and the withdrawal of their objection to his being placed on the ordinary half-pay of his rank?


The punishment inflicted on this officer of reduced half-pay was awarded spontaneously by the War Department. It is for that Department to reconsider it if the punishment was excessive. The only objections raised by the Treasury wore to Major Richards's re-employment and to the write-off of the deficit on his accounts before the matter had been investigated by the Public Accounts Committee.


May I ask whether, as the Treasury have no objection to the restoration of Major Richards, the Secretary to the Treasury will use his influence with the Secretary of State for War to induce him to assume a less warlike attitude towards Major Richards?


I think the matter may be left with every confidences in the hands of my right hon. Friend.