§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the important proposals to be laid before the House for the increase of the Army, he will furnish for the use of hon. Members copies of the detailed Monthly Return of the rank and file of the Army for the months of November and December, 1897, and the months of January and February, 1898?
§ MR. BRODRICK
The monthly rank and file returns of the British Army have always been hitherto regarded as confidential, and only 30 copies have been printed. It would be obviously undesirable to publish every month a statement of the precise strength and the condition of every British unit at the various foreign stations. But Lord Lansdowne feels that under present circumstances it is desirable that Parliament should be informed as fully as possible upon these subjects; and I shall, therefore, be prepared to lay upon the table a return giving the number of men in each unit on the 1st of July and the 1st of October, 1897, and the 1st of January, 1898, showing those under one year's service and under 20 years of age; and distinguishing between men in their first term of engagement and men who have extended their service. The number of Army Reserve men and Militia Reservists available for each unit can also be shown.