HC Deb 21 March 1898 vol 55 cc385-6
COLONEL T. M. SANDYS (Lancashire, S.W., Bootle)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether inducements are now being held out to Reserve men, without reference to the regiments in which they served before, to join the new double-linked battalion regiments; whether there is any necessity for a course to be taken which may seriously interfere with regimental spirit and discipline in these regiments; whether this sending in of large numbers of men from outside into the new double-linked battalion regiments is considered advisable by their commanding officers; and whether there would be any objection to allow Reserve men only who formerly served in the 6th, 7th, or 20th Regiments to rejoin the Colours of their former battalions, and to direct the commanding officers concerned to raise their battalions to full strength by the usual methods, instead of by filling their ranks with men trained in other corps under different systems, and possibly in other and different branches of the Service to their own?


The number of men who are returning to the Colours from the Reserve under recent regulations is larger than was anticipated, and a limited number of Reservists will, therefore, if they desire it, be enrolled in the new battalions, where they will have a better chance of promotion. In order that the new battalions may become effective as soon as possible, it is highly desirable that they should contain a larger proportion of seasoned soldiers than the Reserve of those regiments would be likely to supply. There is no intention of making any such general transfers as my hon. and gallant Friend assumes, and care will be taken not to encourage the transfer of men whose own regiments are in a weak state.


Arising out of the answer, may I ask whether it is the intention of the War Office to give all men an opportunity of joining the new battalions?


Yes; it is intended in all cases to give them an opportunity of joining new battalions.