§ MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is intended by Army Order No. 1 of 1893, with reference to the subject of Staff clerks, that the Military Staff clerks who have not elected to accept service in the Army Service Corps should be placed under the direct control of two distinct and separate Commanding Officers, one being the Staff Officer under whom these clerks work, and to whom such clerks are personally responsible, and the other being the officer commanding the Army Service Corps in the district in which such clerks are quartered; whether it is customary, as is the case with these clerks, to place soldiers under the immediate control of an officer commanding a corps in a branch of the Service in which such soldiers have not consented to serve, or to attach such soldiers, compulsorily, to a corps, for purposes of discipline to which they have declared their unwillingness to be transferred; whether it is known that these clerks are at present so situated against their desire, and that they have frequently been subjected to much inconvenience and annoyance in consequence of the dual control placed over them, which in some instances has materially interfered with the proper performance of their duties, by their being withdrawn from their legitimate work by the officer commanding the Army Service Corps without any reference being made to the Staff Officer to whom these clerks are responsible; and whether it is intended that these clerks should continue to remain in this position?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling, &c.)
Small bodies of soldiers are necessarily attached to some corps for discipline and administration, and the most convenient corps to which to attach Military Staff clerks is the Army Service Corps. When employed in an office they are, in their capacity of clerks, subject to the orders of the officer in charge of that office, but for discipline and all military purposes they are under the command of the officer commanding the Army Service Corps. This does not constitute any 538 duality of command, and is in accordance with the custom of the Service. It is not intended to change the system.