HC Deb 17 July 1902 vol 111 cc602-35

1. £1,381,000, Militia: Fay, Bounty, &c.

2. £585,000, Imperial Yeomanry: Pay and Allowances.

MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

said he wished to call attention to grave complaints made in the public Press with regard to the treatment of Yeomanry during the recent campaign. In October of last year a letter appeared in the Standard making a definite charge against the commanding officer of a corps in South Africa of having used an ambulance for the purpose of conveying the luxuries and clothing of officers for a journey of 3,000 miles. He called the attention of the Secretary for War to that statement at the time, and got the usual stereotyped answer—that if he produced facts, inquiry would immediately be made.


On a point of order, I must point out that this Vote has only to do with the Imperial Yeomanry at home.


Can we have another opportunity of discussing the right hon. Gentleman's salary?


The Committee has been doing that all the afternoon.


I have had no opportunity of raising this question.


It is out of order now to do it. It may be possible later on.


Well, I will hope to have the privilege of reducing the right hon. Gentleman's salary later.

MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

said he was very much interested in tin Yeomanry, and he felt bound to congratulate the Government on the change which had taken place in regard to the force. The old order of things was fortunately, passing away. The fendal system, under which the farmers on big estates were almost bound to serve, no longer obtained; a class of men better suited to the requirements of the force was being introduced, and they had proved their value by their conduct in the recent South African campaign. He wished to bear testimony to the excellent system, which had superseded the oh one, of sending the Yeomanry into camp Speaking from personal experience, h could vouch for the immense benefit derived from picketing horses in the open instead of confining them in cramped huts and inconvenient stables in town. At the last training of the Cheshire regiment, despite- the fact that the weather was cold the health, of both horses and men was admirable. The additional inducements, especially in the matter of pay, which had been held out, were attracting a large and useful class of men. He could not help expressing gratification at the change which had taken place, and he was convinced that in this matter, at any rate, the Government were proceeding on right lines.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

said now the war was ended there was no necessity for this large number of men on a peace footing at home. He asked what rate it was intended to pay the Yeomanry in this country upon a peace footing. He noted that the Estimates showed an enormous increase on the year, and he would like to know when the Yeomanry were to be brought back from South Africa.


Not one penny in this Vote has to do with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa. It is purely and simply for the Imperial Yeomanry at home under normal peace conditions.


suggested that, as the war was now over, the force could be reduced to a peace footing. Men would be returning from South Africa, and there would be no necessity to maintain a large force at home in order to feed the force in the field. Surely they were entitled to ask as to the necessity for so big a number of men as was provided for in the Estimates.


said the hon. Member was clearly under a misconception. This had nothing to do with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa, nor had it been used for supplying drafts in South Africa. Last year an increase was voted for the Yeomanry forces in the United Kingdom. The original establishment; was 11,000, and this figure it was proposed to raise to 33,000. The pay was increased, and at the same time the Government increased the amount of drills and; camp work. An allowance was also s made for horses.


To what extent has the force been increased?


said that of the 33,000 men whom it was hoped to get, over 16,000 had been obtained on January 1. Since then a large additional number had been enrolled.


asked how the new corps were progressing. How were the Sussex Yeomanry going on? He believed the Commanding Officer and Adjutant had been appointed. How strong was the regiment? What prospects, too, were thereof raising the force to 33,000 men?


said that recruiting was going on very satisfactorily indeed. They were getting as many men as they expected; the strength of the regiments in existence was very largely increased. On the 1st January—the latest date for which he had the figures—the Surrey regiment contained fifteen officers, fifteen sergeants and 223 rank and file, and seeing that it had only just been raised, be thought that to be a very creditable performance.


And how about the Sussex?


I have not the figures here in regard to that regiment.


confessed that personally he had considerable doubts as to whether the new conditions were sufficiently attractive to bring the force up to the required strength, but he was bound to say that so far the recruiting had proceeded very satisfactorily. The establishments of some regiments were already complete. New regiments were being raised, and altogether the service was very popular throughout the country.

SIR JOHN DORINGTON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)

asked if the Government were satisfied with the supply of horses for the Yeomanry. He pointed out that the Government provided £5 in the case of every man who brought a horse, but that some men did not bring their own horses. He wished to know whether the officers were satisfied with the horseless regiments and with men who it was found, when they came on parade, were, unaccustomed to ride.


agreed with the hon. Baronet that the present system was by no Moans perfect. It was difficult indeed to say how far the existing system had been a success, A number of Yeomanry Officers had boon asked to go into the facts and suggest any changes which they thought necessary. Personally he would like to see these regiments provide their own horses and not rely on the Government, but in some cases it would be extremely difficult to enforce such a rule. Still he hoped that in the course of the coming year some more satisfactory arrangement would be come to.

*SIR ROBERT HERMON-HODGE (Oxfordshire, Henley)

strongly advocated the long service medal for Yeomanry. The authorities seemed to hold, he said, that a man of forty was too old to serve in a mounted corps. He did not agree with that, and he thought the War Office might well leave Commanding Officers to weed out of the force men who had ceased to be fit to serve. he would like to see the Yeomanry put on the same footing as the Volunteers in regard to a long service medal. Then, again, there was the question of the position of Regimental Sergeant-Majors. Last year a promise was practically given that these men in the Yeomanry should be put on a level with those in the Volunteers, It was not a very extravagant claim to be made on behalf of men, many of whom had done extraordinarily good service, that they should enjoy the position, ray, and pension rights which Volunteer Regimental Sergeant-Majors had. Then there was the question of riding. It was extraordinary how small a percentage of Englishmen—in this horse-loving and horse-breeding country—were capable of riding. Recruiting for the Yeomanry force was no doubt going on most satisfactorily, but the fact could not be disguised that a large number of the men enlisted could not ride, and he would strongly urge on the right hon. Gentleman the desirability of establishing riding schools -in suitable localities. For instance, one might very well be established in the city of Oxford, for there were a large number of young men passing through the University every year who would be glad to avail themselves of the opportunity of learning to ride. Civil Service students who had to pass a riding test already secured the services of the Yeomanry regimental Sergeant-Major to teach them. It was very hard on a Yeomanry officer to find the movements of his squadron impeded by the fact that thirty or forty of his men wore unable to ride. If the Minister for War could see his way to providing riding schools in such places as Oxford, he was sure it would be found that the money would be well invested.

Vote agreed to.

3. £1,287,000, Volunteer Corps, Pay and Allowances.

(9.30.) COLONEL BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Eye)

asked the Secretary of State to explain exactly what the amended Order in Council as to Volunteers was, and when the next rules would come into force. He regretted to see a tendency in official quarters to neglect and depreciate the Volunteer force at the expense of the Yeomanry and the Militia. By their services in the recent emergency and by the steady progress they had made, he contended the Volunteers were entitled to more encouragement than they had recently received. He also urged that the Volunteer Regulations required amendment in certain important respects. There were archaic regulations, based on the organisation as it existed in 1859 or 1860, which ought to be brought up to date, and made to harmonise with the present condition of affairs. Among the absurdities existing was the right of individual Volunteers to appeal to the Secretary of State if they felt themselves aggrieved. That right was an absolute farce, as was shown by a recent case in Herefordshire. A Corporal Ough returned from the war, and was fêted in the usual way, though being a temperate man, he was not unduly excited. The Adjutant of the regiment, attired in the usual picturesque costume of a British officer—that was, a suit of tweed "dittos"—passed him on a bicycle, and, because he was not saluted by the Corporal, had him brought up, with the result that he was practically expelled from the battalion. This right of appeal was exercised, and eventually, after a deal of circumlocution, a reply was received stating that the Secretary of State was of opinion that the matter should be decided by the General on the spot. Why should not all this farce be avoided by stating in the regulations that the aggrieved Volunteer should appeal through the usual channels to his proper superior? As to the general treatment of Volunteers, he thought the rules as to the annual camps required tightening. What the War Office always appealed to be doing was to ask the Volunteers what they would like, and then to adapt the requirements of the country to meet their wishes.

SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

thought the new Order in Council was a great improvement on the Order promulgated in November last, and the Volunteer force as a whole was most anxious to do all it possibly could to give effect to the wishes of the military authorities. With regard to camps, he was glad the Secretary of State had taken very wide powers of exemption, and so would be able to discriminate between different regiments. Some regiments found it very difficult to attend camps at certain seasons of the year. It was absolutely essential that some regiments should go into camp, while for others that were constantly training it was not so important. Some volunteers, especially those employed in Government offices, found it difficult to get the necessary leave of absence, and while he recognised the spirit of the Memorandum recently issued to heads of departments on the subject, there were many of those officials who did not appreciate the difficulty which Volunteers had in coming up to the new standard of efficiency unless they had this leave. It was extremely important that it should be understood that it was not a matter of the wishes of the individual volunteer, but that the Treasury and the Government were anxious that every encouragement should be given to the men to attend the camps. He was therefore glad this power of exemption had been taken, and hoped the matter would be looked upon from a commonsense point of view. The proposed appointment of an Advisory Board to the Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteer force was a step in the right direction, and would give great satisfaction to the force. As to the Sergeant-majors of Volunteers, he hoped the Secretary of State would give the matter renewed consideration. The work attached to the position in the Militia was largely confined to the period of recruit and annual training, whereas in the Volunteers it continued all the year through, and yet in the former case the officer had warrant rank, while in the latter he had not. They were a most deserving body of men, and there was really no reason for maintaining this difference of treatment. He would also appeal to the Department to be very careful how they sanctioned any extension of the present musketry requirements. Metropolitan Volunteers found considerable difficulty in coming up to the standard. Practically, the only available ranges were at Pirbright and Bisley, and a Volunteer had frequently to make four or five visits before he could compete his class. Generous allowances had been made, but it was really a question, not of money, but of time. It was undesirable that a Volunteer should have continually to be asking his employer for an afternoon to go to the range. The less call there was made on employers, the better it would be for the Volunteer force as a whole. The war had shown what a valuable reserve the Volunteer force was, and men should be encouraged to join it by every possible means. As to the large deficiency of officers, he fully agreed that they should be well trained, but the right hon. Gentleman would readily see that the greater the demand upon the time of the officers the more difficult it would be to obtain them. Young gentlemen should be encouraged to accept commissions, and not discouraged by an insistence upon duties which in some respects might be considered to be of a routine character.

MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)

referred to the circular recently issued from the War Office impressing upon officers the necessity of using ammunition for practice shooting instead of in competitions; the effect of which, he believed, would be unduly to limit the amount of ammunition the officers could devote to competitions, and in that way prevent shooting being made attractive to the men. Ten rounds per man was absolutely useless, and if officers desired to encourage shooting they would have to find the ammunition at their own expense.

SIR JAMES RANKIN (Herefordshire, Leominster)

hoped the Secretary of State I would reconsider the case of Corporal Oud, and that the man, who had borne an excellent character in South Africa, would not be dismissed from his position. With regard to officers and men making themselves efficient, he urged that the regulation requiring attendance at ten drills before going into camp should be so far relaxed as to enable them to complete their drills while in camp. By so doing, the right hon. Gentleman would make it easier for officers and men to make themselves efficient.


said that, unless an entirely different complexion could be put upon it by the Secretary of State, the case to which reference had been made was one of the most outrageous and amazing of which he had ever heard, and reflected small credit upon the officer concerned. He hoped that upon further consideration restitution would be made, and the man restored to the position he had filled with so much credit.


replying to the various questions which had been raised, said that nothing impressed the recent Committee more than the absolute impossibility of making hard and fast rules for Volunteers. Rules must be made, as far as possible, applicable to the majority of the force, reserving the right to make exemptions in the case of corps which, owing to local circumstances, could not possibly come up to the requirements. He agreed as to the desirability of tightening the rules with regard to going into camp. The more the men could be got into camp, the better it was for the force, and nobody recognised that more than the Volunteer officers on the recent Committee, but it was clearly shown that more stringent rules on the point would lead to a considerable diminution in the force. To keep up a state of efficiency in the Volunteer force, they must rely upon the goodwill of its members, and the only tiling that could be done was to put before them the wishes of those in authority, to which they had never yet failed to respond, and to be prepared in exceptional cases to exercise the discretionary power vested in the Secretary of State. As to officers being permitted to make good their drills in camp, not a single Volunteer officer stood up before the Committee for such an arrangement. They all held that when they went into camp they should be in such a state of efficiency that they should be teaching and not learning drills while there. He was afraid such a concession could not possibly be granted, without, in a great degree, impairing the efficiency of the officers. The point raised by the hon. Member for the Particle Division was one upon which it was very difficult to lay down a hard and fast rule. It was quite true that there were some corps in which great pains were taken over the shooting, but there were others in which the ammunition was kept back, and instead of bad shots being taught to shoot better, the whole was reserved for competitions amongst the better shots of the regiments. That was the worst thing that could happen. What was wanted was not a few really good shots, but a. good average, and the best way to secure that was by using the surplus ammunition for the purpose of improving those who were not up to the average. Personally, he was not cognisant of the case of Corporal Ough, and his right hon. friend, in this as in many others, had been obliged to leave, the question to the officers responsible in the district for the enforcement of discipline. His hon. friend wished him to say that it did look as if this man had not had his case properly considered, and that he would himself inquire into the circumstances, in order that justice might be done. The proposed Advisory Board was very much in accordance with the views expressed by Volunteer officers, and cases brought before the Board from different localities could be thoroughly analysed by those who would have to deal with them in the War Office.

(10.2.) MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)

said that the Order in Council of 1901 demanded longer and more arduous training of the Volunteer force, but the new conditions were not accompanied by corresponding facilities. There was a wide-spread feeling of dissatisfaction on the part of the Volunteers throughout the country, and the War Office granted a Committee to make inquiries. The Volunteers hoped that they would go into the whole question of Volunteer allowances in a broad spirit for the purpose of securing greater numbers and efficiency. In that hope they had been disappointed, because the Order in Council, dated 29th May, 1902, made very little difference on the previous regulations. They expected that the capitation grant would be raised from 35s. to 50s., and also that the camp allowance would be increased from 2s. 6d. to 5s. per day. There should have been a much greater allowance for ammunition to Volunteers for practice in shooting. It was expected also that there would be an allowance for drill halls and rifle ranges, and that there would be, in addition to the Adjutant, a paid Quarter - master Sergeant and Sergeant Major. In these expectations they had been disappointed. The Volunteers expected now that the war was at an end that these matters would receive the attention they deserved.

*MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)

called attention to the case of a man who was a Corporal in the Carmarthen Volunteers, and who, though he had been nearly twenty years in the corps, was dismissed because his employment prevented him from attending camp this year. This was not the case of a man wilfully neglecting his duty. He was a tradesman who was unable to attend the camp this year without serious consequences to him as a business man. It seemed to the hon. Member that if members of the Volunteer force were to be treated in that harsh and arbitrary manner the War Office authorities could not expect to increase the numbers. He hoped the noble Lord would see his way to cancel the order for the dismissal of this man.


said that if the commanding officer thought that it. would be an advantage to the regiment to retain this man, he had power to do so. The War Office wore asked to order i the commanding officer to keep in the regiment a man whom he did not think; efficient. On the face of it, he could I not sec that there was any grievance.

*MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)

called attention to the formation of a large number of rifle clubs in the country. He felt that if the Government took no part in the matter, it was possible that these clubs might become a competing force with the Volunteers. He suggested that the Secretary of State should consider the matter seriously and practically, with a view to seeing that rifle clubs did not compete with the Volunteer force. There were signs already that it was possible that some of these rifle clubs might become sufficiently powerful to seriously prejudice recruiting for the Volunteer force. He considered that this matter was somewhat urgent, because, if steps were not taken to see that those who had an earnest desire to learn shooting were directed into the right channel, it was quite possible that those clubs might do more harm than good. A very real difficulty to these clubs was the expense of the ammunition; the Government could therefore retain a hold on the clubs by supplying ammunition at a greatly reduced charge, on certain conditions. These rifle clubs, instead of competing with, might be made valuable adjuncts to the Volunteer force. The same difficulty had arisen in some of the Colonies, and had been satisfactorily dealt with. It would seem advisable to take some action in this country on similar lines, before the movement had grown beyond the control of the Government.


also urged that some system of organisation should be devised in connection with rifle clubs.


pointed out that this Vote contained certain allowances in respect of field batteries. In his Army corps organisation the Secretary of State provided for fifteen batteries of Volunteer field artillery. On the last occasion when the subject was debated in the Mouse the Secretary of State seemed to have come round to the view which some hon. Members had previously expressed, namely, that he would be likely to do better with Militia field artillery than with Volunteer field artillery. He wished to know how far the right hon. Gentleman had got in this direction, and whether he would have to fall back on the Militia.


requested information as to the position of the Volunteer Reservists scheme.


said he hoped to be able in the autumn to make a statement on the Volunteer Reservists scheme. With regard to the field artillery, the right hon. Gentleman had raised a serious and important question.. They had hoped that they would be able to rely upon the Volunteers for fifteen batteries of field artillery, but the War Office authorities, after carefully considering the matter, had come to the conclusion that there was great difficulty in finding Volunteers who were able to give sufficient time for training as field artillery, and it had been thought desirable for the present to restrict Volunteer artillery to the heavier guns. They were considering whether they could induce Militiamen to give as much service as would make them competent field artillerists, and he was not sure that they would not be able to form some part of this artillery, to a large extent of men who had already passed through the Reserve, and who, would be very eligible still to servo for some years for home defence. He hoped to be able to report satisfactory progress next year

Vote agreed to.

4. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,025,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge for the Pay, etc., of the Medical Establishment, and for Medicines, etc., which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903."

MR. MACVEAGH (Down Co., S.)

called attention to a grievance felt by certain medical officers whose claims had been adjudicated upon by officers who were junior to themselves. Decisions had been given which would involve these officers in considerable loss of money in the shape of pension. He hoped the Secretary of State would give his persona attention to the appeals which had been lodged by the aggrieved officers.


replied, but his remarks were inaudible in the Gallery.

(10.25.) COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)

asked whether the Secretary of State for War had under consideration the future of the Army Medical Department. It was well known that when the late war broke out officers and men suffered terribly from the inefficiency of the Medical Department. He urged the desirability of keeping up the efficiency of the Medical Department, so as to be able in future promptly to meet the exigencies of war. He feared that in the economies that followed the conclusion of war and the shrinkage of the Army this necessity might be overlooked.


said the system of requiring signatures and counter-signatures to be obtained during the late campaign before the necessary appliances could be received was found to be very inconvenient, both for the doctors and the unfortunate sufferers. He hoped that something would be done to alter this system. What he wanted to know was why all these signatures and counter-signatures wore necessary before appliances required for unfortunate sufferers in war could be obtained from the stores. He had seen a paper demanding a paltry eighty yards of cloth which had no fewer than sixteen signatures. If the Advisory Board had on it representatives of civilian commonsense there were hopes that reforms would be introduced which would prevent the recurrence of such scandals as that of Bloemfontein, where dying men had rugs taken from their beds because the supply required could not be obtained without the signature of the commanding officer. Any sensible man would have gone to the stores and at his own initiative would have got everything necessary. That was what a German field officer would have done. The Secretary for War was well aware that the War Office system would not be tolerated for a moment in any business house in London. As long as the War Office was controlled by permanent officials and old fogeys, there would be no genuine reform. The Secretary for War, instead of pursuing his earlier purpose to reform a system of the evils of which the right hon. Gentleman himself had given examples, had allowed himself to he over-ridden by the antiquated notions of permanent officials. The Minister who was popular at the War Office was the man who allowed himself to be ruled by the permanent officials under him. Directly the war was over there ought to have been a clean sweep of the War Office, and the old men paid off whoso motto was "What is now, has been, and ever shall be." Questions of accounts, supplies of stores, and many other matters, not only in the Medical Department but in the Clothing Department, should be dealt with on common-sense and commercial lines, and by men of business habits and training.


said he was afraid he was under considerable difficulty in following his hon. friend, who had told stories of what had occurred at Bloemfontein before the Army Medical Department had been reformed. The hon. Gentleman might have favoured the Committee, at all events, with his views as to the state of things as they were now, and not as they were in the early part of the war, in the very crisis of the emergency. He might be allowed to say that he had scarcely ever heard a general attack on the administration of a Department made on less sufficient ground than that which had been advanced by his hon. friend. The hon. Member had made a number of general statements, unsupported by facts, and he challenged them all. He asserted broadly that, both with regard to correspondence and general administration, immense progress and amelioration had taken place in the last two years. This House had done good service by calling attention to the weakness of that part of the administration of the Army Of course, there had been great difficulties in supplying a huge army in the field, but he believed that the system now established, which involved a largo increase in the number of medical officers, increase of pay, and the provision of things that had not existed before, and a variety of changes which had brought the Army Medical Service into line with the best civilian practitioners of the day, ought not to have been ignored by his hon. friend.


said that he thought the criticism on the Army Medical Department was right and just, and that practically there had been no alteration in the old system, which had been the curse of the Army since the Crimean War. He agreed that the right hon. Gentleman had, to a certain extent, been the first to bring about a partial reform of the Army Medical Department. But the doctors were not well enough paid to give inducement to good men to enter the medical service of the Army. That was the secret of the horrible and disgraceful breakdown at the beginning of the war. The right hon. Gentleman said that all that had been remedied; but he denied it, and he maintained that the forms made use of by the Army Medical Department were a disgrace to any nation. He knew that old forms had been sent out to men who had fought in South Africa, and who were sick and ill, telling them that if they were not well by a certain time their names would be removed from the Army. If that was the way the War Office was going to encourage recruiting for the Army, a greater mistake was never made. In his opinion, the old War Office civilians had been the curse of the Army, and the ruin of its administration. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government was going to appoint a Commission. If that Commission went thoroughly into the Army Medical Department, it would have far more effect than a debate on the conduct of our generals. The right hon. Gentleman smiled, but he knew what he was speaking about from bitter experience, for he had lost two or three of his dearest relations in the war. His heart was big for the welfare of the old Army in which he had served for ten years. The right hon. Gentleman should approach the task of cleansing this Augean stable, for until a strong man was appointed at the head of the Army the country would never have a Medical Department worthy of the name. There were many ways in which the Department could be improved. Unless the men were properly paid, and given a chance of rising and doing good to themselves, they would never get a proper and efficient Army Medical Department. At the outbreak of the war they had to scour the highways and highways in order to get doctors for the Army. Many of these men were, of the highest order of Christian doctors, and he hoped they would be properly rewarded. He had heard only that day of a distinguished civilian doctor who had gone out to the war, but who was now to be thrown out, and not to get a step in rank. He believed if the right hon. Gentleman had the pluck to tear himself away from officialism he would make a success of the War Office.


said he wished to ask his right lion, friend the Secretary for War a practical question. In the future, would the members of the Army Medical Department be transferable, by a single stroke of the pen at the War Office, from one Army Corps to another, or would they belong to those Army Corps and only be removable by the commanders of them?

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

said he hoped it was not a fact, as stated by the hon. and learned Member for East Finsbury, that before a medical officer could obtain medical stores for the sick and wounded, it was necessary that his order should be counter-signed. Surely commonsense and reason would say that one signature was all that was necessary to get the stores.

(11.0.) SIR J. BATTY TUKE (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

said he could not but think that certain hon. Members who had spoken were not aware of the important steps taken by the Secretary for War to re-organise the Army Medical Service. They had gone back in the past, and there was a great temptation for one who had followed the history of that service from the Crimean War down to the present time to do the same. But he was content to refrain from doing so, as far as possible, as he believed the scheme now at work was a whole-hearted attempt to reform the service and do justice to the Army medical officers. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the adoption of a new administrative principle. All previous Ministers for War had proceeded on the assumption that they could work the machine independently of the great medical schools and the feeling of the medical profession at large. As a consequence, all previous attempts to reform the service had failed, mainly, though not entirely, from the non-recognition of the principle. He said not entirely, for failures had also been due to maladministration of former warrants, and retrocession on the part of the War Office in carrying out their provisions. That the right hon. Gentleman had become convinced of the necessity of recognising this principle, was shown by the fact that, of the eleven members of the Committee appointed by him, in 1901, to consider the reorganisation of the Medical Service, seven were civilians, all men who were connected with important medical schools, and by the further fact that, on the advice of that Committee, an Advisory Board had been established, four of the members of which are civilians. he congratulated the Minister for War on the establishment of this principle, which would, he believed, be of great service to the country, notwithstanding that he could not agree with him entirely on the manner in which it had been applied. His first objection was that it was impossible for these four gentleman to perform all the duties laid upon them. The Board had to meet at fortnightly intervals; it had to report on all matters connected with medicine, surgery, sanitation, as they affected the military services; to advise on the provision and equipment of hospitals; to submit a scheme for the expansion of the service to meet the needs of war; to report on plans for hospitals, barracks, and camps; to arrange for the annual inspection of each of the military hospitals, such inspection to be usually made without notice; to super vise the examinations of candidates; and to consider the promotion of officers. How was it possible for men in active practice to perform such multifarious duties for a mere pittance of £200 a year! It was impossible; and it would be found in practice that these four gentlemen could only have referred to those special points for their advice and consideration. This would be a most important function for them to perform, but that they could carry out all that was imposed on them by the Report was impossible. Further, he wished that the hon. Gentleman had carried out the special recommendation of Sir William Thomson, who did such excellent work in South Africa. Sir William, as a member of the Committee, in a Minority Report, recommended that the Advisory Board should be composed of representatives of the Medical Schools in the several divisions of the Kingdom. The Secretary for War had accepted this principle as regards Ireland and England, but had evaded it so far as Scotland was concerned. It was true he had appointed a gentleman in London, who held a Scottish degree but had no other connection; he had lived all his life in London, could in no way represent the feeling in Scottish schools, or adequately represent the genius of the country, and had not had any connection with military matters. He was aware that the Secretary for War took a great deal of trouble to secure a practitioner resident in Ireland, but he never once entered into communication with anyone connected with Scotland, or in any way consulted the feelings of the schools of that country. The right hon. Gentleman might ride off on the statement that of the military members of the Advisory Board, two or three were Scottish graduates. Such an argument was futile, as those gentlemen had lived their lives in the service, and could not be en rapport with professional feeling in the North. He might as well argue that because the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were both Scots, the electoral representation of Scotland was on an equable footing with that of Ireland. It should be remembered that about one-third of the medical recruits came from the North, which afforded the highest class of candidates. he did not argue this from a mere provincial point of view. It was impolitic to ignore and flout these great schools. When it was considered that any scheme for the expansion of the service must depend on the assistance provided by universities, schools and hospitals, it was evidently a wise policy to keep in close touch with teaching institutions, on which must depend, to a great extent, any scheme for an Imperial Medical Reserve. The establishment of an Imperial Medical Reserve must be a chief object to be kept in view by the Secretary of State. It was impossible to keep up a standing medical force during times of peace sufficient for the sudden emergencies of war. This was one of the lessons we had lei rub from the late war. The Army Medical Service must be made capable of rapid expansion, and this could only be effected by appealing to civilians. This was not the time to propound a scheme for the establishment; of such a body; but it might be said with certainty that the War Office would have to come to the teaching institutions of the country, and demand their assistance in formulating a scheme by which a system of units could be established, ready to act under any emergency. Under these circumstances, it would have been more politic for the Secretary for War to do everything in his power to maintain the entente cordiale with important centres of medical education. What we did in haste during the late war must be provided for at leisure. He urged this point on the right hon. Gentleman in the interests of the Army at large. He was sure that if he would so act, he would find a ready answer to his demands. As to the New Royal Warrant, he should have liked to have spoken at more length, but other medical members were present who might desire to speak. He believed it would work well. The pay was fair; the system of examination for promotion was sound. It would do much to prevent slackness, and would give an opportunity for the bettor men to show what they were made of. In every service there were two curses—seniority and private influence. If the system of examination was made to exercise its due influence—if it was taken along with each man's service record, it would serve a most important function in neutralising these curses. But it must also be remembered that the thorough working of the now warrant depended on the maintenance of the Royal Army Medical Corp at a proper level. The arrangements for leave and study leave could not be worked unless the service was numerically sufficient. The warrant might easily break down in many of its most important provisions if the service was starved. But, in the hope that no retrocessions will occur, as they had occurred as regards previous warrants, he begged to congratulate the Secretary for War on the earnest effort he was making to produce a really efficient service.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

said he had always taken a great interest in the Army Medical Department since he entered the House of Commons, and since he had the honour of serving his Sovereign in his old regiment. What was wanted was to try and get into the service a good running supply of the best candidates, in order that they might be able to carry out the important duties entrusted to them. In former years, the Army authorities attempted to manage medical matters without consulting the wants and wishes of the great universities and medical schools from which the candidates had been, drawn. He thought, however, that his right hon, friend, who so ably occupied the position of War Minister, sincerely desired to take into his confidence the great medical schools and teaching bodies, in order to get the best possible students for the Army Medical Department. The right hon. Gentleman deserved great credit for that, and also for having taken into, consideration the representations of the British Medical Association, which represented the great mass of the profession. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman and his advisers had made a large number of very valuable improvements in the original warrant, by which it was made more acceptable to the profession generally, and by which a larger number of candidates for the service would be obtained. The new warrant was extremely good, and he thought its terms were, extremely favourable. He only wished he had had such terms when he was serving his country in the Army Medical Department, nearly thirty years ago. They almost made his mouth water. The right hon. Gentleman was also well advised in instituting study leave. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman had carried out many of the reforms in the Department which had been advocated year after year in Parliament. He wished to express his most emphatic admiration of the admirable work of the Army Medical Department in South Africa. There had been criticisms on its general administration, but no one had a word of criticism to offer regarding the admirable devotion of the individual members of the Department; who had to face great danger and difficulty to carry out their work, and who had to sacrifice, not only their comfort and convenience, but, in many eases, their lives. If they looked back on the medical history of the South African campaign, he thought it would be found that in no former war had the general results of medical and surgical treatment been so admirably successful. Of course, there were difficulties—he did not mean difficulties due to the Government, but to the exigencies of the military situation—which made the work of the Army Medical Department arduous, and occasionally impossible. But, speaking as a medical man, he said that in no former war was the medical treatment of enteric, and the surgical treatment of wounds, on anything like the same plane of success; and he thought the Army Medical Department had earned immense credit for the results which had been obtained. There were certain points in connection with the new warrant on which he most heartily congratulated his right hon. friend. One was the new position given to the Director-General of the Army Medical Department. It was always felt in the old days that the position of the Director - General was not sufficiently authoritative. Now he would be a much more authoritative person than he was before. Perhaps, he might be a little old-fashioned, but he confessed he was not quite so enthusiastic about the inclusion of the civilian element. He thought the old plan was better where the Director General had two or three experienced subordinates, each for a different Department, all of whom combined to discuss questions from the medical point of view. He agreed with his hon. friend the Member for the Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities that the civilian element was not of a sufficiently authoritative character. The only object of the element was to bring the Board into touch with the great medical schools, and unless they had men of great distinction on the Board that might not be achieved. He did not say a word against the members of the Board, who were all able men; but they had not that professional standing which was requisite. He hoped, however, that the arrangement might work well. He agreed also with his hon. friend that £200 a year was not sufficient for men who joined the Board, as it might involve the dislocation of their other professional work. He thanked his right hon. friend cordially on behalf of the medical profession, which he only represented in a subordinate way, for his very admirable warrant, which he believed would bring peace and contentment to the Army Medical Department, and which he hoped would bring the Board into immediate and effective touch with the medical schools, with the result that there would be a good flow of the very best candidates into the service. Competition was what was wanted. When he entered the service there were nineteen competitors for sixteen vacancies. The new regime was a very good one; but he hoped that his right hon. friend would be prepared to take even still further advice. He wished to know the exact constitution of the new hospital to be started for the Army, and what its relations to Netley would be.

(11.26.) MR. BRODKICK

said he could not specifically answer the hon. Gentleman's question, as the arrangements had not yet been completed. But they were pressing the matter forward. He was very glad to listen to the speeches which had just been delivered, because both hon. Gentlemen spoke with great authority on the subject. He was all the more gratified at the commendation which the hon. Gentleman opposite passed on the scheme when he compared it with a speech which the hon. Gentleman delivered to his constituents a few months ago, in which the hon. Gentleman denounced his administration of the War Office as being a total failure in all its branches. That speech was doubtless dished up for the consumption of the hon. Gentleman's constituents; but when the hon. Gentleman tackled the practical working of the Department, it was a great satisfaction to find that he was clothed in his right mind. He thought that, both from the hon. Gentleman's speech and from the speech of his hon. friend, the Committee would perceive that the reform of the Army Medical Department which had taken place last year had, in the main, commended itself to the medical profession. Of course, there had been criticisms—which I they were glad to have; but an immense change had been made by the introduction of civil members to the Advisory Hoard. That change would, he believed, have a great and permanent effect on j the Department. His lion, friend read out a long list of subjects which the Advisory Board had to deal with. No doubt the number was great, but he saw the minutes of the fortnightly meetings of the Board, and he could assure the Committee that the work was done in a most thorough and efficient manner; and he thought the Committee and the Army could not be too grateful to those medical gentlemen who, although in large practice themselves, had given their services to the Government. Nothing that could be offered to them in the way of money was in itself sufficient compensation. They were all eminent men, and there was every reason to be grateful to them. Some little complaint was made by his hon. friend as regards the composition of the Committee for the inspection of the hospitals, and he confessed that his lion, friend forestalled him in the line of argument he intended to take up. It was quite true that in selecting a Scotch graduate to attend the Committee, they had not asked the leading man in the profession in Scotland to attend in London, but they had set themselves to get a man of experience who, being in London, could attend the Board. There was, however, really nothing to complain of. As a matter of fact, half the members of the Advisory Board were Scotch graduates, although not the actual representatives appointed by Scotch schools. He thoroughly re-echoed what the hon. Member had said about the personnel of the Army Medical Department, With reference to the larger demand for officers which would have to be met in case of war, they desired to act as closely as they could, not only with the London schools, but also with the Scotch and Irish schools; and he was glad that his hon. friend included colonial schools also. The system had already produced one remarkable result. Up to last year they had not been able to obtain a sufficient number of candidates for the vacancies on many occasions; and he would admit that last year the candidates were not up to the standard. Within the last few days, however, as the result of the change, and the general increase of confidence on the part of the medical profession in the intentions of the War Office in regard to the Army Medical Department, there were between seventy and eighty candidates for thirty-two vacancies. That was a very marked change, and he hoped it would continue. He was quite certain nothing would be wanting on the part of the War Office to secure its continuance. He attached the greatest importance to the arrangements which were being made for study leave. They had adopted in the Army Medical Department practically the system of short service which had been adopted for the Army. If a man did not like the service after two years or more, he had an opportunity of going back to civil life. He believed that to be a sound arrangement, and he also believed that the arrangement by which the medical I officer &t the beginning of his military career would have some sort of home would also work satisfactorily. In that respect, and in many others, he recommendations of the Committee over which he presided last year would, he thought, produce excellent results in the Army Medical Department. They could not, in the few months which had elapsed since the adoption of the reform, see the results to any large extent at present, but he had great confidence in the future. He was quite aware that they had arrears, both of knowledge and of organisation, in that and other respects, to pull up. They were learning hard the lessons of the war, and he was very sanguine that those who followed him would be able to say that, whatever else had or had not been done for the Army during the period he presided at the War Office, at all events a long step forward had been taken in the Army Medical Department.


said he desired to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his statement, and especially on the fact that there had been between seventy and eighty candidates for thirty-two vacancies. It was a great satisfaction to the Committee to hear such a statement as that, as it showed that good work was being done in the Army Medical Department. There was one point on which he was not quite clear, and that was the question put by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Taunton as to the organisation of an Army Medical Corps together with an Army Corps. It was quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, that doctors, at the beginning of their career, would be attached to a unit, but he desired to know whether the organisation of a Medical Corps would be co-ordinate with the Army Corps system. There was another question also asked, which, perhaps, could not be answered off-hand; and that was the difficulty of getting medical stores without a lot of red tape and the signatures of a number of non-medical officers. He thought there were cases during the war in which two, three, and even six signatures were required. Medical stores were sent out in great quantities, and in the hurry and hustle of the war it was inevitable, perhaps, in many cases, that they should fall short; but he was not sure that a great deal of the shortage was not due to the system under which the stores could be drawn. He hoped; the right hon. Gentleman would give attention to the matter with the view to simplifying the system.


said he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he intended to continue the system of requiring a number of signatures for medical stores, practically on the battlefield, when men were dying for the want of articles which were, perhaps, within twenty yards of them. It was not a case of the stores being at Capetown; they I were within rifle range of where the unfortunate people were dying. A nobleman sent out a hospital at his own expense, and it was monstrous that the patients who were being attended in it should be deprived of what they required merely for the want of a few signatures. Necessaries should not be doled out on the field of battle as if they were supplies from a canteen. It was all very well for an old Army doctor like the hon. Gentleman opposite to butter up the Department. His hon. friend the Member for the Edinburgh University was far more practical. He said—what they all knew to be true—that they could not get a leading physician for £200 a year; why, they could not get a country attorney at that price.


said it was a sufficient answer to his hon. friend that they had on the Board two such surgeons as Sir Frederick Treves and Mr. Fripp. He merely mentioned their names as an illustration, and was not putting them in any way in front of the other gentlemen on the Board. With regard to the signatures for stores, he could not speak off-hand; but it was perfectly obvious that there was no period where it was more necessary that stores should be carefully husbanded than during a campaign, or given out except under proper authority. He, however, demurred to the idea that the system was due to red tape. During the campaign an enormous number of doctors had to be sent out, many of them not conversant with the rules and regulations of the service; and stores were often delayed because men did not know their own powers, or how to order what they required.


said he appealed to his right hon. friend to give an answer about the future of the Army Medical system in connection with the Army Corps system. If not, his only alternative would be to move a reduction. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,024,900, be granted for the said Service."—(Colonel Wellby.)


said he would be very glad to answer his hon. and gallant friend. As regarded the Army Medical Corps, with the exception of a very few officers, they Were at the present time relying to a very large extent on civilians for the different stations at home; and until they could bring the medical officers home from South Africa in large numbers, which he hoped would be shortly, it would be impossible to put the new i scheme into working operation. When that was done, they would endeavour to work the Army Corps system and Medical Corps system together, with the proviso that it should not extend to India.


said that if his right hon. friend would answer the question I whether an Army doctor could be moved from one Army Corps to another, without any reference to India, he would be prepared to withdraw his Motion.


said they were establishing a great variety of changes, and he could not answer the question off-hand.


said it was perfectly plain that the right hon. Gentleman could tell the Committee whether it was, or was not, necessary to have five or six signatures to a requisition for stores in the field. The right hon. Gentleman insinuated that the reason for the mistakes which occurred was because civilian doctors were employed. He never heard a more lame or wretched argument in his life. That had nothing whatever to do with the question. Surely the right hon. Gentleman could tell the Committee whether the wretched old forms, which had not been changed for forty years, would be altered. If the right hon. Gentleman wished to keep to the old forms, he ought to let the Committee know. What he wanted to know was whether the right hon. Gentleman had taken any steps to simplify the old forms. That was a perfectly plain question, put in a perfectly plain way.


said he had already informed the Committee, and thought he had made it clear, even to the hon. Gentleman, that the forms did not require six signatures. So far as he was concerned, he was perfectly ready to undertake that full attention should be given to the simplification of all medical forms. As a matter of fact, a Departmental Committee under Sir William Butler was now engaged in simplifying the medical and all other forms.


said his only object in moving the reduction was to try and make the Army Corps, which the right hon. Gentleman himself had instituted, realities and not shams. He was quite ready to withdraw his Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £120,800, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge for Establishments for Military Education, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 3lst day of March, 1903."


said it was within the knowledge of the Com- mittee that the question of military education generally had been dealt with very ably by the Committee presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Augustines's Division of Kent. He had no intention of referring to the outbreak at Sandhurst, much as he regretted it, but he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State whether he was satisfied with the arrangements for military education which had now be placed under the Military Secretary. He had read the evidence on the subject with as much care as he could, and he considered that the late Military Secretary gave away the whole case. That officer said that they were prevented from carrying out the recommendations with reference to military education by the war, and that they had been entirely unable to deal with it. Lord Roberts gave very important evidence, in which he said that the existing arrangements were not satisfactory, and he added that it was not the examinations that were at fault but the way that they were carried out. Lord Roberts appeared to think that the best plan would be to have a general officer as the director of military education with an Advisory Board, consisting more or less of experts, on which public schools, universities, and other educational centres would be represented. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take that suggestion of Lord Roberts into his very serious consideration. He considered that the present arrangements were very hard on Sandhurst. The pupils remained there only one year, which was practically only eight months; and it was impossible to teach them very much in that time. That was a very serious condition of affairs, and he hoped that, with the cessation of the war, they would return to the normal period, if it were decided to keep up Sandhurst at all. Two radical changes were required at Sandhurst. What could possibly be more disadvantageous to a young man than to put him through a very severe examination on entering the College, and then leave him absolutely without any competitive examination at all when leaving. The whole system was on a wrong basis. They might have a competitive examination at the beginning and the end; but certainly they ought to have a competitive examination at the end, and not allow it to be said, as was said by the Committee, that a great many of the students who Came in at the top of the list went out at the bottom, because they had no stimulus to continue their education. The second change had reference to the professors. He thought the way in which they were chosen was lamentable. Of course, there was great difficulty in selecting any man for teaching until he had been tried; but he would suggest a probationary term, after which the professors could be dismissed if they were not proficient. At present they were not selected for their teaching powers; they were not dismissed for their incompetence; they were not rewarded for ability, and they were chosen because they wore men who wished to have an easy berth during the next five years. Such appointments were regarded as the backwater of the Army, since the officers hardly ever came back to military positions. There was one other thing on which he thought the right hon. Gentleman would agree with him, and that was that the teachers should be more in touch with the classes. At present they seemed to give a lecture, and never see their pupils afterwards. Again. there were two subjects which ought not to be in the curriculum at all, namely, military law and military administration. Every experienced military witness who gave evidence before the Committee said that the men learned these subjects much better after they had joined their regiments. Military administration was comparatively simple, but could not be learned without dealing practically with the accounts of a company. With reference to military law, regimental Court Martials were nearly abolished, and no officer would serve on a District Court Martial under two years service. The young officer would be able to make himself acquainted with it after he had joined the service. If these two subjects were taken away, there would be an opening for foreign languages and other subjects. He regretted to see that the German professor had been struck off. Woolwich had a German professor with only 305 students, but Sandhurst with 360 students was only to have the occasional advantage of a German professor. He could not conceive what reason there was for that arrangement, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider it. The bright spot in the Report was the evidence as to the University candidates. There appeared to be no complaint against them with reference to discipline; and he thought it would be a very excellent thing if the right hon. Gentleman would take into consideration the question whether the age should not be raised in favour of the University candidates.


said he thought the Vote should not he taken tonight; it would be a useful way of discussing certain questions concerning Sandhurst.

It being Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.

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