§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War what was the strength of the 86th Regiment, Second Battalion Irish Rifles, when it landed on its return from India; how many men in the Second Battalion were left behind to make up the strength of the First Battalion, how many of these were volunteers, and how many were ordered for transfer; whether he can state how many of the men landing with the Second Battalion were in fact transfers on discharge from the First Battalion; and how many of the total number returning are duty men who will be retained 501 in the ranks of the battalion for service at home; such number not to include non-commissioned officers, band, drummers, pioneers, regimental transport, orderlies, and other non-duty men?
MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
When the Second Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles landed at Southampton on the 15th February it was 470 strong in warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, exclusive of 99 invalids, reservists, etc., who had arrived earlier. Three hundred and twenty men were left in India for re-posting to the First Battalion. There was no question of volunteering. None of the 470 men were transfers on discharge from the First Battalion. Of the men landed on the loth February, 273 were duty men. On the 1st March the battalion had 683 men, of whom 516 were reported fit for duty and 127 were on furlough. In addition to these there were 261 men at the depot of the regiment.