HC Deb 28 June 1897 vol 50 cc632-3
*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Mr. Mullick, a native of India resident in this country, after having been proposed and seconded as an eligible member of the Inns of Court Rifles, was informed by the Commanding Officer that, although he was personally unexceptionable, Indians being objected to by some members of the corps, the nomination must be withdrawn, the Officer writing to the effect that, being an Indian native gentleman, Mr. Mullick is not eligible for an English volunteer corps; whether natives of India belong to the University corps in Oxford and Cambridge and to many other corps; whether he is aware that an opinion has been expressed by the Benchers of the Inns of Court that the exclusion of Indians as a class is regrettable, and the Commanding Officer has stated publicly that there is a War Office memorandum which prohibits the enrolment of native Indians in English volunteer corps; whether there is any foundation for the statement of the Commanding Officer as to the order of the War Office; and, whether a correspondence has taken place between the Benchers of Gray's Inn and the Commanding Officer of the regiment, in which they state that the grounds on which Mr. Mullick has been declared ineligible are erroneous?


The admission of any subject of Her Majesty to a volunteer corps rests solely with the Commanding Officer. In Mr. Mullick's case it is understood that the Commanding Officer did not accept his nomination. There are natives of India serving in volunteer corps, and there is no War Office document prohibiting their enrolment. Owing to a misapprehension caused by some unofficial correspondence, the Commanding Officer of the Inns of Court Volunteers was led to believe that natives of India could not be enrolled, but this has been corrected. It is understood that there has been some correspondence between the Commanding Officer and the Benchers; but the Officer Commanding is the only authority as to persons to be enrolled in volunteer corps who can be recognised.