HC Deb 19 February 1901 vol 89 cc468-9
SIR H. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Stafford, Handsworth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the weights habitually carried by our horses in South Africa; whether he is aware that the efforts being made to end the war have been much hampered and delayed by the slowness of movement forced on our troops by the weight placed on the horses; and whether, in order to give some portion of our troops the power of moving quickly, the War Office is, while raising the large number of mounted men it is now proposing to send out, making any special effort to discover and secure the services of the lightest men capable of doing the work required of them.


My attention has been drawn to the matter referred to by the hon. Member, and much thought has been given to the subject. There is no doubt that our horses have in many cases been over weighted, but other causes, such as shortness of food, and the unsuitability of some of the horses, are also in part responsible for the lack of mobility. As regards the weight of the men, the standard has been materially reduced, and no man is now accepted for cavalry of the line who is over 5 feet 8 inches.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

Is there any record of the countries from which the horses which broke down came?


I do not think there is a record of each country.


Is it only the Argentine horses that have broken down?

MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

Is it in contemplation to effect any reduction in the weight of the saddle?


Only two or three hours ago I was informed by an expert that horses under the heaviest saddles had gone best.


Did that refer to the American saddle?


Order! These details should be discussed on Supply.

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