HC Deb 07 July 1896 vol 42 cc927-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether he is aware that Mr. Sayers, until recently a sergeant in the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment now stationed at Devonport, was, on the 1st of June last, in charge of the guard, and arranged with a corporal to exchange with him their hours of duty, and handed over the guard to him, in order to see a solicitor with regard to affording legal assistance to sergeants about to be tried by court-martial; whether he is aware that Sayers was tried by court-martial for this, convicted, and degraded to the ranks; whether he is aware that such an exchange of hours of duty is frequently effected without any objection on the part of the officers in command; and, whether he will take steps to reinstate Mr. Sayers in his rank?


The circumstances have not yet been reported to the War Office; but assuming the facts to be as stated in the Question, the sergeant was properly brought to trial. It is perfectly well known to every sergeant in the Army that no man detailed for a duty can exchange it with another man without permission. It does not seem to Lord Lansdowne that he is called upon in a case of this kind to interfere with regimental discipline.