§ MR. BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is the case that, by an Army Order of November last, all Majors not promoted before the 1st July will be required to pass an examination; whether the effect of this Order will be that a considerable number of senior officers will be obliged to go through an ordeal from which officers of less service will be exempt; and whether, so as to reduce any necessary hardship or anomaly of this kind to a minimum, he will consent that all Majors who were second in command at the time the Army Order of November last was issued, maybe excused from passing the new examination for promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel?
§ *MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
After June 30 no officer will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel until he has shown that he is qualified to perform the duties attached to that rank; for which purpose he would have to be examined by a Board of superior officers in subjects which every Major is expected to know. Sufficient warning has been given to enable officers to prepare for this examination, and facilities are afforded for exercising command over the three arms; but as promotion is not by seniority, it is inevitable that whenever the new system starts some officers of less service will have been promoted, while Majors of longer service have thus 41 to prove their capacity. I should not be willing to sanction the delay suggested by the hon. Member, inasmuch as an examination in professional knowledge which is essential for a Commanding Officer cannot be regarded as a hardship.