HC Deb 02 February 1893 vol 8 cc228-30
MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it be still the intention of the War Office to merge the 79th Highlanders in the Scots Guards; and whether he is aware that recently a number of recruits, raised in London, have been added to the 79th, thereby altering the proportions of Englishmen and Scotchmen in the regiment, whereas two years ago there was a considerable majority of Scotchmen in the 79th, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way of recruiting Scotchmen?

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)

I wish to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can say whether he proposes to convert the Cameron Highlanders into a third battalion of the Scots Guards, or to make any other change in their position; and, if so, whether he will undertake that the House of Commons shall have the opportunity of discussing the question before a decision is finally arrived at; and whether it is his intention to make any other proposals with a view to equalising the number of battalions on Home and Foreign service?

MR. CAMERON CORBETT (Glasgow, Tradeston)

I desire to ask the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been called to the very general feeling in Scotland against the proposal to make the 79th Cameron Highlanders a battalion of the Guards; and if he can give any assurance that the change will not be made.


I shall shortly have an opportunity, when introducing the Army Estimates, to explain my views, not only on the question of the Cameron Highlanders, but on the larger subject of Infantry organisation, of which that question is wily a small part. It will be more convenient to defer to that occasion any statement of toy intentions; but I may at once say that, as it is not now intended to add to the strength of the Brigade of Guards, the particular proposal referred to by the hon. Members, of converting this regiment into a battalion of Scots Guards, is not in contemplation. I would add that I have not been able to see any indication of the "very general feeling" in Scotland on this subject, to which the hon. Member for Tradeston refers. What I have observed is a natural and, let me say, most characteristic desire on the part of my countrymen to know something of the facts of the case before forming any judgment upon it.


May I ask when the proposals referred to in these questions were first made?


I do not know when this particular proposal for converting the 79th High- landers into Scots Guards was first made. It has long been suggested as a mode of dealing with a very difficult case.

MR. DARLING (Deptford)

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will consider the expediency of slightly augmenting the Cameron Highlanders by adding a second battalion to that regiment?


Yes, at once, if the hon. Member will raise me recruits in the district for the purpose.