§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
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?
§ MR. BRODRICK
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.