HC Deb 02 February 1897 vol 45 cc1040-1
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he has received a sworn declaration made by Colonel A. C. Turner, Colonel C. H. Spragge, Colonel J. F. Brough, and Colonel A. N. Pearse, all of the Royal Artillery, with reference to the circumstances under which 16 successful candidates who had competed for cadetships in Addiscombe College, in December 1859, with a view of obtaining commissions in the Indian Artillery and Engineers, were in December 1860 induced to accept commissions in Her Majesty's Royal Artillery or Engineers, the Government having, while these cadets were pursuing their course for the Indian Army at Addiscombe, decided not to make any more appointments to the Indian Artillery and Engineers; whether these Officers had passed the examination prescribed by the regulations for the admission of candidates for cadetships in the Engineers and Artillery of Her Majesty's Indian forces, under the 34th clause of the Act of 21 & 22 Vict., c. 106, and been sworn in as Indian cadets, and on their part had duly fulfilled the terms and conditions of the regulations; whether his attention has been particularly drawn to the statement in the declaration that early in December 1860 the 16 cadets, of whom these officers are the survivors, were asked by Sir Frederick Abbott, the Governor of Addiscombe, if, as no more appointments were to be made for India, they would accept commissions in Her Majesty's Royal Artillery or Engineers, and were assured that the privileges that would have belonged to them if appointed would be guaranteed; that £100 each was subsequently paid them towards their expenses at Addiscombe by the Indian Government, in accordance with one of the conditions under which they had received their cadetships; also that, on joining at Woolwich at Addiscombe early in 1861, 10 of the candidates, including the declarants, who obtained commissions in Her Majesty's Royal Artillery, were assured by Colonel G. Kennedy, then in command of the depôt, that if they would consent to volunteer for general service their privileges under the conditions in the regulations for admission to cadetships at Addiscombe would be preserved to them; will he explain why, in spite of these declarations, they have been retired on pension at English instead of Indian rates, and have been deprived of the benefit which would have accrued to them, had they been appointed to the Indian Army, of counting the year they spent at Addiscombe towards pension; and whether as these cadets were induced to continue their course and accept appointments in Her Majesty's Artillery by assurances officially given to them by two superior officers representing the Crown, the Government now intends to repudiate these assurances?


I can add very little to the replies made to my hon. Friend in 1895, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling District. The salient point in the case is, that these officers never were in the Indian Army, appointments to which had ceased before they came out of Addiscombe. Whatever hopes were held out by the Governor of that college were certainly unauthorised; and they were set aside in advance by the Indian General Order of the 9th December 1859, intimating that "all future appointments of cadets should be made subject to any alteration that may be decided upon."