§ MR. VICTOR CAVENDISH (Derbyshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War how he accounts for the falling off in the effective strength of the Regular Army on the 1st January, 1898, as compared with the 1st January, 1895. Could he state how many men entered the Army, and how many left the colours, in the years 1896 and 1897 respectively; and, how the strength on the 1st January, 1898, compares with the strength on the 1st April, 1897, on which date the increased establishments, authorised last Session, came into force?
§ MR. BRODRICK
The 1st January is not a convenient date for comparisions of strength, as men coming home for discharge, who are virtually no longer with the colours, are often at that date in transitu, and, therefore, still borne on the strength of regiments. This was the case on the 1st January, 1895, when the Army was 4,381 above its establishment, an excess largely due to the fact that an unusual number of time-expired men coming home for discharge did not reach this country until just after that date. By the following 1st April the surplus had nearly disappeared. In the year 1896 the recruits who joined the colours were 28,589, and 29,889 men left them; 35,083 recruits joined the colours in 1897; but the effect of this large inflow was almost neutralised by an abnormal outflow of 34,921 men. Between the 1st April, 1897, and the 1st January, 1898, the Army increased by 2,976 men.