HC Deb 25 May 1897 vol 49 c1260

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether the batteries recently ordered to the Cape were on the First Army Corps, or higher establishment, with a regulation strength of 180 men and 86 horses, and supposed to be fit for service as they stood; whether 272 horses and 189 men were drafted into them; and why, if the Field artillery has been increased to an extent sufficient for three army corps, this was necessary?


The three batteries which have proceeded to South Africa were on the higher home establishment of 161 men and 86 horses; and required according to the foreign establishment, which is practically the war establishment, 27 men and 156 horses to complete. Unfortunately, owing to the recent slackness of recruiting, they were considerably under the establishment of men, and this with the ordinary casualties, made a transfer of 189 men instead of 27 men necessary. In addition they had 116 horses perfectly fit for home duties, but which from age were less adapted for foreign service. These were exchanged with batteries at home for more suitable horses. Our batteries, like those of all other nations, are during peace on the peace establishment, and if required on any serious emergency would be raised to the necessary strength by calling out the Reserve.