§ GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he can state the strength of cadet corps attached to Volunteer battalions which attended regular training and inspection during the past year; whether he is aware that these cadet corps receive no Government assistance other than the loan of unserviceable Martini-Henry rifles; that their officers only hold honorary rank and have no official status; that their services do not bring any financial assistance to their corps; that these corps are maintained at an annual expense to the members composing them of from 25s. to 35s. per head; and that when they go into camp at Aldershot or other military stations to learn their duties alongside regular troops, with whom they take their full share at field days, they incur as further expense of from 21s. to 25s. and whether he would be prepared to consider, and if possible bring forward, proposals in next year's Estimates for recognising these corps in some substantial manner, as for instance by allowing the officers to hold commissions with substantive rank and with full grant for efficiency, and granting to non-commissioned officers and privates the authorised proficiency allowance as issued to effective Volunteers, and by requiring a special Report and establishing a high standard of efficiency, so that these corps could be looked on as very valuable educational institutions for furnishing officers and non-commissioned officers to the service Volunteer battalions?
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (MR. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
4,321 cadets appeared at inspection in 1896. These cadet corps consist of school boys, under 17 years of age. To treat them as suggested in the Question would involve a heavy annual expenditure, which is not recommended by the military authorities, although the Secretary of State fully appreciates the value of these juvenile corps as feeders for the Volunteers as the boys grow up.