HC Deb 25 May 1897 vol 49 cc1254-5
*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether there are now nominally It battalions abroad in excess of the number at homo, as compared with 11 mentioned by him at the commencement of the Session; whether these figures exclude the new battalion of Guards, but include as at home the new battalion of Cameron Highlanders: whether the new battalions of Guards and of Cameron Highlanders have any existence except on paper: and whether the Government still consider that the absence abroad of an excess of battalions is only temporary?


There are 14 more battalions of infantry abroad than there are at home, excluding the Guards. This reckoning does not include the new battalion of the Guards, but it does include as at home the new battalion of the Cameron Highlanders. About one-third of the Cameron battalion has been raised; but the extra men raised for the Guards have been applied to the augmentation of the battalion first for foreign service. I may remind the right hon. Baronet that it was contemplated that the formation of the new battalions would take three years. As regards the number of battalions at this moment employed abroad, I can only say that, under existing circumstances, the Secretary of State does nut see his way to reducing the number.