HC Deb 09 June 1898 vol 58 cc1156-7
MR. JEFFREYS (Hants,) Basingstoke

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the announcement that several English railway companies refuse to convey detachments of Volunteers to or from camps on any Saturday in July, August, or September; whether he is aware that this has caused great inconvenience to the Volunteers, many of whom have, in consequence, to travel on Sundays; and whether the Secretary of State for War can induce the railway companies to altar this rule?

COLONEL SIR H. VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg at the same time to ask the Under Secretary of State for War if all the railway companies have now withdrawn from the decision announced that they would no longer convey Volunteer corps upon Saturdays to the drills and musketry practice undertaken without payment for the service of the country; and, in the contrary case, if the Secretary of State will consider, in conjunction with the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Postmaster General, the desirability of diverting from any such company the public moneys heretofore paid for the conveyance of troops, sailors, marines, guns, stores, and mails; and, further, have inserted in railway Bills for new or extended powers provisions against an exercise of power prejudicial to the public interest?


The attention of the Secretary of State for War was drawn to the announcement, and in consequence a communication was addressed to the railway companies. Several of the companies have withdrawn from their decision; one company—the South Eastern—has made its withdrawal subject to the condition that no Volunteers are to be convoyed on the Saturday preceding the Bank Holiday in August; no official reply has yet been received from the Great Western Railway or the London and North Western. The War Office would regard the maintenance of the decision by these companies as seriously interfering with the efficiency of the Volunteers.