HC Deb 30 March 1897 vol 48 c116

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether, according to the Return of the Inspector General of Recruiting, the number of deserters was 3,357 for last year; if his attention has been called to the case of the man who admitted enlisting and deserting from the East Yorkshire and fourteen other corps in succession; and whether, owing to the prevalence of this practice, he will consider the possibility of marking, by vaccination or otherwise, every officer and private on joining the Army?


The number of deserters in 1896 was only 1,819, which is a fairer criterion than the number of desertions. Such a case as that referred to is mentioned in a magazine as having occurred apparently 13 years ago, but the references are too vague to be traced. The practice of marking was deliberately abandoned; and as the loss by desertion is shown to be annually decreasing there is no present ground for seeking to re-introduce it.