HC Deb 16 March 1897 vol 47 cc747-8
SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War with reference to the statement that every battery of Horse Artillery in the First Army Corps is fully equipped in every respect, what is meant by fully-equipped batteries; and whether such batteries possess six wagons horsed?


When it was stated that each Horse Artillery battery of the First Army Corps was fully equipped it was meant that the battery had in its possession its complete equipment in guns, limbers, and wagons. The wagons are not all horsed during peace; but the guns are. ["Hear, hear?"]


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War how many horses are required for the war strength of 45 Field and 10 Horse Artillery batteries provided for, and how many are actually maintained for these batteries at the present time; what proportion of the ammunition wagons required for service with these Field and Horse batteries are horse in time of peace; and how many horses over 6 and under 14 years of age there are in the Horse and Field batteries of Royal Artillery stationed in the United Kingdom, and how many horses over five years old are attached to such batteries?


The horses required for the 45 Field and 10 Horse Artillery batteries on a war footing would be 7,805. The number maintained on the peace establishment is 3,946. Twelve Field batteries have each six wagons horsed in time of peace and five Horse Artillery batteries have each four wagons horsed. The other batteries have each only one ammunition wagon horsed. The Field and Horse batteries at home have 2,148 horses over six and under 14 years of age; and there are 1,136 horses over five but under six years old. ["Hear, hear."]


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the Horse and Field Batteries on the Home establishment are up to their complement of men; and, if not, by what number are they short of the regulation strength?


By the latest return the deficiency in men was 587; but, as I pointed out a few days ago, these batteries are necessarily below their establishment after they have supplied the batteries abroad with drafts.