§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for "War if he can inform the House of the reasons 618 which led on the 25th of May to the reduction of Sergeant John King, of the 2hd battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment of Volunteers, to the ranks, and his discharge on the same day from the force on account of his reduction to the ranks, and if he can inform the House by whose authority he was dismissed; if there is any appeal to the War Office from the above dismissal; and if he is aware that Sergeant John King has been a member of his corps for twenty-five years and a non-commissioned officer for twenty years, and that he has on several occasions shot for England in rifle competitions and holds Her Majesty's decoration for long service and good conduct.
§ The following question on the same subject also appeared on the Paper:—
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
To ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been directed to the recent reduction to the ranks and eventual dismissal of Sergeant John King from the Devizes detachment of the 2nd Wilts Rifle Volunteers in consequence of a speech made by him at the South Wroxall Liberal Club, in which he adversely criticised the policy of the Government in South Africa; whether he is aware that Sergeant King was a member of the English twenty at Bisley and an alderman of the Wilts County Council; and, whether the Secretary of State for War will consider the revision of the sentence.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
Sergeant King, whose service is correctly stated in the question, was reduced to the ranks for inefficiency, and was consequently discharged by the commanding officer of the battalion, both proceedings being in accordance with the Regulations and the Volunteer Act, which give such officer full powers both to reduce and discharge a Volunteer, subject only to the Queen's pleasure. The case has been carefully considered, and the Secretary of State sees no reason for interfering with the lawful award of the commanding officer.