§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a suns, not exceeding £6,895,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for provisions, forage, and other supplies, including South African compensation claims, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1904."
§ * COLONEL LEGGE (St. George's, Hanover Square)
moved to reduce the Vote by £100. He said the recruits of the; Army were not fed as well as the trained soldiers, who had an extra 3d. per day messing allowance. This extra allowance the recruit was not allowed to have until he was nineteen years of age, or had what was called the physical equivalent of that age, and even then he must have served six months and given evidence of satisfactory progress. It was very hard on him, because at the time he entered the Army he was usually underfed; he had, moreover, to work hard and constantly, and was at a time of life when food was most necessary to him. The Secretary for War two years ago had said that the matter had been carefully considered, but that it would appear that there was no justification for relaxing the regulations. He regarded that answer as satisfactory, because had he been merely told that the matter was under consideration lip would have been perfectly hopeless, because when once a question reached that stage in the War Office nothing more was ever heard about it. Now, however, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would be able to hold out some hope that, if not immediately, at any rate next year 1296 he would be able to see his way to relax the regulations and give the recruit the increased food which he so urgently required.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That Item A (Cost of Provisions) be reduced by £100." (Colonel Legge.)
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said this question had been frequently before the House during the last two years. The food of the Army was still inferior in quantity to the food of the Navy, which, however, had recently been increased as a result of the Report of a recent inquiry, and he believed the greatest difficulty in the way of recruiting at present was the smaller quantity of food given in the Army. He entirely endorsed, therefore, the remarks of his hon. and gallant friend. There was another matter which certainly ought to he looked into by the Committee. They had recently had the question raised of the destruction of rations in South Africa, and also as to the quality of the rations supplied. With reference to this question a book had just been published which deserved attention. He referred to Sir Wodehouse Richardson's recent book, "With the Army Service Corps in South Africa." Sir Wodehouse Richardson, who was the principal officer of the Army Service Corps in South Africa, gave the real dates of the mobilisation of the expeditionary force, which were very different from the dates given to that House, and dealing with rations, said that 20,000,000 lbs. of preserved meat and vegetable rations passed under his surveillance. The following entry appeared in his diary—Meat and vegetable rations. A large proportion of those sent to South Africa were found to be unfit for consumption.After such a statement from so high an authority he thought an explanation should be given by the Government on the subject. He was aware that it was alleged on behalf of those who supplied the rations that the goods were damaged.—wilfully or carelessly—before they were tested, by persons in Government employ, but certainly this was a matter on which they ought to press the Government for a clear statement of the confession which had come into their possession.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)
supported the appeal which had been made in favour of an improvement in the rations of the private soldier. He did not go so far as to say that it was necessary the youngest recruits should have exactly the same full ration as the full fighting man, but still there was room for improvement. He wished mainly to point out that the private soldier did not object so much to the food itself as to the way in which it was prepared and served, and he suggested that some little expense might be incurred in providing the men with proper utensils. It was not calculated to encourage decent men to join the Army to compel them to take their liquid nourishment out of an earthen ware bowl.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
said the right hon. Gentleman might call it a mug, but it had no handle, and it was very unpopular in the Army. Why not provide the soldiers with some more decent method of consuming their rations? Let them lame the ordinary appendages of civilised feeding. It would not involve very great expense, but it would remove a serious grievance which certainly had a tendency to discourage recruiting.
§ MR. WLLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said he had addressed several Questions to the Secretary for War on the question of the destruction of rations at Pretoria, and he would now like to know the result of the right hon. Gentleman's communications with South Africa on the subject. This was an extremely serious matter. Something like £80,000 worth of rations were declared to be unlit and were ordered to be destroyed. In view of the appalling amount of distress which existed in all parts of the country—in view of the hundreds of thousands of people actually in a state of starvation—or verging upon starvation, it was a horrible thing to read that £80,000 worth of the rations paid for by the taxpayers of the country had had to be destroyed as if they were so much 1298 rubbish in South Africa. The matter called for the most searching inquiry on the part of the Government. When he first put the Question he had not the faintest idea of the names of the firms who supplied the rations, nor did he think that that was a matter which concerned a private Member. It was one rather for the War Office. He now had information of a more or less reliable character that, as a matter of fact, a great portion of these rations were not really bad or unfit for human consumption when they were destroyed, and that quantities were eaten by the people of the locality without the slightest ill-effects. Remembering how thousands of people in this country and especially in Ireland found it difficult to find food for their children, he desired to know what means were taken to determine whether these rations were good or not, whether those means were such as to satisfy the authorities in South Africa that they were really bad, and whether any rumour had reached the Secretary of State to the effect that a large portion of these rations were hastily assumed to be unfit food. It was most deplorable and regrettable that food unfit for consumption should be sent out for our men who were risking their lives on the battle field, but it was almost criminal if food which was not unfit to he eaten had been destroyed in such vast quantities. They ought to have a frank and full statement from the Government on the subject.
§ COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)
supported the suggestion that larger rations should be given to recruits, especially when drill and gymnastic exercises are being carried On together. It might be done with ease at recruit training depôts like Caterham, and with a little trouble he should think the difficulty could be overcome in regiments where the recruits mess with soldiers who have passed their drill.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Lord STANLEY, Lancashire, Westhoughton)
said he would answer the hon. and gallant Member for St. George's Hanover Square, at once. He had complained that the recruit had not the same messing facilities as the 1299 trained soldier. He would ask the hon. and gallant Member to make a comparison between the position of the trained soldier in 1895 and at the present time. In 1895 the trained soldier had 1s. per day and 3d. for messing. The recruit had precisely the same conditions now as the trained soldier bad in 1895. Nine months after he reached the age of nineteen he now got 3d. for messing allowance and 2d. for stoppages. He thought the man who was serving his apprenticeship should be compelled to find something towards the education which was being given to him in order to fit him for his career. As they had done much to increase the pay of the soldier, and as next year there would come into force a still further payment from the State to the soldier, they hesitated about putting upon the country a still further burden by supplying the recruit with the extra money which would put him into the same position as the trained soldier. They were justified in saying that while he was a recruit he should be considered as serving his apprenticeship, and should be required to purchase any extra provisions he required, other than those allowed by the State. He agreed that it was desirable that, as far as possible, the recruit should be well fed, but he thought he should he required to find a certain amount of the extra nourishment while he was a recruit and not a trained soldier.
With regard to the destruction of provisions in South Africa he would lay the whole case before the House. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman had quoted a paragraph from a book written by Colonel Richardson. He did not know whether that book had been issued to the public or whether it had been published for private circulation, but he had not had the privilege of seeing it. He had made inquiries since that paragraph was read, and he could not find that Colonel Richardson had ever made any complaint officially to the War Office similar to that which he bad put into his book, which was written after he had left the Army. He could not help saying that this was rather hard upon those who were trying to meet the objections which were being put forward as the results of the late 1300 war. The purchase of preserved meat for South Africa was supervised in the following way. At nearly all the contractors' manufactories they had men expressly placed, not only to inspect the meat when it was being put into the tins but also to inspect it before it was prepared ready to put into the tins, and they were given full power to reject in any and every way anything which they thought undesirable. The goods when supplied were forwarded, for trans-shipment to South Africa, to Woolwich, and there the War Office had again inspectors who not only took out tins from any consignment for examination, but they also sent samples to the public analyst to be analysed not only for the quality but also for any deterioration of the contents of the tins, and an inspection of the tins and the material of the tins. There was not one single complaint from the analyst that either the tins or the meat were anything but what was considered up to the specification, and those were the most stringent conditions they could put upon any manufacturer. Therefore, he thought the Committee would hold that the War Office did all it possibly could to secure for the troops in South Africa and other places that when it left this country the preserved meat should be in the best condition that they could devise for preservation and for the use of the troops. In a matter like this the Committee should allow some line to be drawn between the responsibility of the War Office at home and the responsibility of those on the spot. As far as the War Office were concerned their sole duty must be, and should be, to try and get the best article, and be perfectly certain that the best article went out from this country in as perfect a condition as supervision could possibly secure. He maintained that the War Office did that. With regard to the destruction of the provisions in South Africa, he candidly confessed that he wished that more careful inspection had been made of those goods before they were summarily disposed of by the general officer in command. Reports came to him that, owing to the deterioration of the preserved rations, it was suspected that there was a certain amount of illness amongst the troops. He thereupon 1301 assembled a board, who took a percentage of the rations still in store, examined them, and on these examinations it was reported that the rations were in a state which necessitated their destruction. Upon that report the general officer commanding ordered the destruction of the whole lot.
The hon. Member for East Clare had asked him a Question as to whether he had heard rumour that some of these rations ordered to be destroyed were taken away by the natives and eaten by them, and that no ill consequences arose. He was not perfectly certain that a thing which agreed with a native would always agree with an European, and therefore that argument did not weigh very much with him. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen read out a letter in the House in which it was stated that the natives had taken away some of this preserved meat, that they had eaten it, and that it had done them no harm. In this matter they had to place themselves in the position of the general officer commanding. He assembled a board which reported that the rations ought to be destroyed, and he had them destroyed. Even if he had a doubt in ins own mind that some of those rations were not as bad as the report of the samples made out, he had to consider whether it was worth the risk, in order merely to preserve perhaps an infinitesimal number of the rations, to risk the health of the troops under his command. That being so he accepted the responsibility which, personally, he wished he had accepted after a closer examination of the rations themselves; but, after all, it was a responsibility in regard to winch the House generally would hold that he exercised the wisest discretion in his power, and did what he thought was best for the troops under his command. He destroyed those rations, and there now arose the question of responsibility for their replacing, or any fine in lieu of replacement, a question which must he dealt with by them and by those who destroyed the rations. If there was any case where they could find negligence or shortcomings on the part of a contractor they would not allow him to escape from any liability. The House must understand that in these matters hon. Members must discriminate to a certain extent 1302 between rations so destroyed in time Of peace and rations destroyed in time of war. He said that more especially now, because with regard to these rations they had not previously had any complaint, nor did he find that the men who had the same kind of rations had ever made any formal complaint about them. It was a big trade and one which they must not depreciate except on the fairest grounds and after the closest examination. He therefore asked the House to realise that a tin of meat which might be perfectly good for two years when properly stored had not the same chance of deteriorating as the tins which had to go to the Tropics and he stored in all sorts of places, in all weathers, without shelter, sometimes in the damp, and sometimes in the blazing sun. Under those circumstances the meat had not the same chance as when stored at home. Some allowance must, therefore, be made for the conditions under which these provisions were stored, and possibly those were some of the various causes which might have helped the deterioration of these particular rations. At the same time they were making further inquiries into the matter. They had telegraphed for further particulars which had to be cleared up before they could deal with the manufacturers, but he repeated that, as far as they were concerned, they knew and believed that the provisions left this country in an absolutely good condition, and, as far as any legal rights they had got in regard to compensation were concerned, they were perfectly prepared and intended to insist upon them being upheld.
§ MR. WIILIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said the noble Lord had just stated that the Government were still making inquiries, but he had made one admission which completely justified the action taken by those who had drawn attention to this matter. He bad said that he considered that the general officer who ordered the destruction of these goods did so before he had made a good and sufficient inquiry. That was a serious statement and it put on the War Office the responsibility of taking some action with regard to the officers who ordered the destruction of tens of thousands of pounds worth of property without a sufficiently exhaustive inquiry. The noble Lord made another statement which, he thought, 1303 ought to shift the ground of the inquiry to some extent, from that altogether. The noble Lord said they were inquiring as to the responsibility of the contractors and that they had not come to a conclusion. That was so far satisfactory, but he wished to know whether the noble Lord would make an inquiry as to the officers. The noble Lord stated that the most scrupulous examination imaginable was made of the goods before they left England; first of all they were inspected while in the process of manufacturing, and secondly at Woolwich before they were shipped. Within a few months of the examination by these officers they were again examined by another set of officers in Pretoria, and whereas the officers at the factories and at Woolwich passed the goods as perfectly sound, the other officers condemned them as bad. That was an extraordinary state of affairs. He thought the War Office were bound to inquire very closely into the suitability of the officers who made these inquiries, both in South Africa and in England, because to most people it would seem a very unlikely thing that goods which were passed in England should, within a few months, be condemned in South Africa. The presumption was that one of these two sets of officers did not do their duty. The noble Lord said that allowance must be made for climatic considerations, but that, he thought, would not hold water for a single moment. He believed that the contractors themselves, if they were asked, would repudiate the idea that any climatic influences could have such an effect upon tinned goods of this description, if they were properly tinned. There was no reason why they should be exposed to the sun in Pretoria. The noble Lord would find, if he inquired, what they all knew, that the serious part of this matter was that a large portion of the goods were examined and condemned within a few months of their arrival in South Africa. That was an unusual state of affairs. One could understand tins which had been knocking about for years in all kinds of weather and places deteriorating, but the serious matter was that many of the tins which were ordered to be destroyed had only just arrived in South Africa. Were the 1304 two sets of officers who made the examination to be passed by scot free? Was there to be no inquiry as to their fitness? Were the Committee to be told their names, and were they medical men? What process did they put the food under in order to examine it? This was as serious a matter almost as any case that might be made out with reference to the culpability of the contractors themselves. There must be fault and blame somewhere, and He would ask the noble Lord to say whether careful inquiry would be made, not only with regard to the contractors, but the officers. The noble Lord had said that this was the first time complaints had been made with regard to rations of this description. He heard the statement was a little surprise, because the information he had received did not tally with it. Did the noble lord say now that, outside of these rations which were destroyed in Pretoria a few months ago, no complaint had been made with reference to any of the rations supplied either to the Army or the Navy? He had received a contrary statement, and he should be very glad to hear that it was not true.
§ MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)
joined the hon. Member for East Clare in expressing surprise at the statement made by the noble Lord that the tinned meat destroyed at Pretoria was the first lot of which he had heard any complaint. He remembered that a couple of years ago he wrote to the War Office on behalf of some canteen contractors whose goods were returned from Cape Town. He thought that a word from the noble Lord would rehabilitate some of the canteen contractors who had smarted a good deal under the condemnation they suffered. He asked the Secretary of State for War two years ago whether there were any contracts for canned meats going to Canadian contractors because he knew that there were a great I many going to American contractors. His right hon. friend informed him that the Canadian contract goods were very inferior indeed, and that some of them had to be returned to Canada, He then made some representations to the Colonial Office because it seemed to him very hard that the Canadian contractors should be excluded altogether, 1305 perhaps on account of the wrongdoing of two or three contractors in Canada. He understood that when the goods were sent back to Canada a small committee examined them, and the report that reached him was that they found there had been some considerable mistake. A great many of the packages had never been opened, and they were quite as good when returned to Montreal as when they were sent out. There was naturally a good deal of soreness felt by the Canadian contractors who thought they had not, on the whole, been very well treated as compared with American contractors who had done nothing at all for us in the course of the war. He wished to know whether it was under some misapprehension that these goods were returned.
§ * COLONEL LEGGE
said that the matter now before the Committee was a question of money, but so far as the soldiers were concerned, it was a question of food and not of pay. Every soldier paid 3d. per day out of Iris pay towards extra messing, and in addition to that the old soldier got this messing allowance of 3d. per day, but it did not go into his pocket at all. The old soldier got the benefit of extra messing which the recruit did not get. Three years ago he was commanding a reserve regiment, and it so happened that there were not enough old soldiers to form the regiment. He had 200 old soldiers and 300 recruits. These 200 were ex-soldiers, who came back to serve with the colours in response to the appeals which were made, and they received their extra messing allowance. In a good many cases their waist measurement was considerably larger than their chest measurement, but with the recruits the measurements were the other way. It was the recruits who wanted the extra messing, and he hoped his right hon. friend would do something to meet this requirement.
§ * MR. MACONOCHIE (Aberdeenshire, E.)
said he was surprised to hear the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean, about tinned rations for the Army. He had the pleasure of meeting Sir Wodehouse Richardson, whom the right hon. Gentleman quoted, at his 1306 request, and particularly discussed the question of meat rations. His words to him were to the effect that he had had considerable practical experience of Maconochie's tinned rations, and that he found they were perfectly satisfactory. He said that what he desired was a square tin and a better method of opening it than by knife. The hon. Member did not think that this discussion, whatever might come out of it, would be for the benefit of the manufacturers of this country or the working classes, unless they could show that it was no new thing for this ration to be praised and not blamed, and that it had been in use for many years. The Times correspondent, writing from Merawi in September, 1897, said—It is fortunate that officers and correspondents are not dependent on this country for provisions. We came up well supplied with stores, and ni my opinion a Maconochie Army ration of tinned beef or mutton is far more palatable than the fresh meat we purchase here.On February 12th, 1897, referring to the Ashanti expedition, the Allahabad Poineer stated—Maconochie field rations, which I think I have mentioned to you before, have gained golden opinions in the late Ashanti expedition.The British Medical Journal, the Daily Chronicle, the Lancet, the Daily News and the Pioneer bore testimony to similar effect. The hon. Member said he had a host of extracts from letters of soldiers at the from praising this particular form of food. Under these circumstances, he thought it was only fair to ask that the manufacturers should tar given the benefit of the doubt and not be condemned when there was not a single service Member in the House, who was at the war, who had not expressed appreciation of the Maconochie Army ration.
§ SIR ELLIOTT LEES (Birkenhead)
asked whether arrangements could he made for rations being put up in smaller tins than was done during the last war. It was very inconvenient to have seven-pound tins of rations, and smaller quantities would be more serviceable.
§ LORD STANLEY
said his hon. friend had mentioned this matter of the size of rations as soon as he came back from South Africa, and he was glad to be able to state that steps would be taken to 1307 ensure that that they would be made up in smaller quantities in future. In regard to the remarks of his hon. friend the Member for Stowmarket in regard to canned meat obtained from Canada, he had to say that this meat was condemned by the officers appointed by Lord Kitchener who examined it at Cape Town. The committee were not satisfied. The sample was divided into two parts—one being sent to Woolwich and the other to Montreal for examination. Professsor Robertson of Canada was allowed to be present at the examination. At Montreal they were satisfied that the meat was quite good. At Woolwich, which, after all, was the place which must know more about the matter, they were not at all satisfied. They said that the meat was not good, that it was composed in great part of gristle and they unhesitatingly condemmed the sample. In that respect it might be said that those who were unbiassed at home confirmed the opinion of those in South Africa, and that as a matter of fact the officers appointed by Lord Kitchener were perfectly right. In saying that unless there was a distinct improvement they could not continue employing these Canadian firms whose goods had been condemmed, it must be understood that where Canadian contractors endeavoured to act up to the War Office specification there would be every inclination to give them the same opportunity for contracting as was given to foreign countries. Therefore, there was not the slightest bias on the part of the War Office against the Canadian manufacturers. In regard to what was said as to making the meals of the soldiers more palatable in the sense of affording improved accommodation, they were doing what they said in the way of providing separate dining rooms and in making the dinner more of a real dinner and less of a picnic than formerly. It had improved, and if there was a way of improving it farther without involving large expense on the nation, he would be only too glad to receive any proposals and recommend them fm approval. He thought that the hon. Member for Clare had misconstrued his words. What the hon. Member said was that he was not satisfied that there had been a sufficiently good inquiry. What he had said was that he could have wished that there had been a larger percentage than one per cent., but that they 1308 did not know what other reasons—there might have been many—influenced the committee in the decision they arrived at. In regard to what the hon. Member said about officers not doing their duty, he could not, in any way, agree with it.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he did not say that the officers did not do their duty. He only asked the noble Lord whether an inquiry would be held into the unusual fact that, whereas one set of officers at Woolwich and the factories said that the goods were perfectly good and sound, another set of officers in South Africa decided exactly the reverse. There must be something wrong there.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that that did not at all follow. It must be remembered that a few months intervened between the two examinations, during which there was every sort of change of climate, atmosphere and condition. It might be a matter for consideration whether the War Office requirements as to the goods being manufactured with sufficient care, so as to preserve the meat during these months and provide against all changes of climate which might intervene, had been fulfilled.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
asked for how long these tinned rations were expected to hold good; whether any guarantee as to length of time was given with them; or whether hey were bought on the understanding that within a few months under such conditions they might be expected to turn bad.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that there was a guarantee for two years, and that was what made him say that he thought there might be a legal liability to make good the loss on the part of the manufacturers. He was not in a position to state fully when these tins did arrive in South Africa. He might ease the minds of those who thought that these preserved rations were neither good nor palatable by saying that his friend the Secretary to the Admiralty asked the Navy officials their opinion of the tinned rations, and the reply was, that the condemnation of tinned meats for the Navy 1309 was very small, and did not average more than .351 per cent. of the total stocks per annum. The Committee would therefore see that when the War Office selected these particular preserved rations for the Army, they had, at all events, a good basis for believing they had got a good article for the Army in the field.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
asked if the noble Lord could inform the Committee what proportion of the condemned rations were in soldered tins and what only in sealed tins.
§ LORD STANLEY
said he had no information at present, but that was one of the points they were dealing with.
§ * MR. MACONOCHIE
asked if there were not 1,150,000 soldered tins and about 550,000 or 600,000 unsoldered.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said he wished to press this point, because it would be of use in the future to know the proportion of soldered and sealed tins. He suspected that the soldered tins were infinitely the better.
§ LORD STANLEY
said he dared say they were, and if he could get the information before evening he would give it to the Committee.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
asked if the result of the inquiry would not be given in Papers to be laid before the House.
§ LORD STANLEY
said he did not think it would be necessary to publish Papers. The information could be given in answer to Questions.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he did not blame the noble Lord, because he had given the Committee all the information he could, but this was a matter which he was perfectly justified in raising. He did not know whether other Members came in contact, as he did, with the very poor classes of the population both in Ireland and this country, 1310 who could hardly find the means of subsistence and who were absolutely in a state of want and misery; and when they were told that £80,000 worth of food had been destroyed, either wrongly or because it was bad, it was a shocking state of things which ought to be thoroughly inquired into.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said he wished to point out that the reply of the noble Lord was most unsatisfactory, because he talked of the recruit being entitled to tins or that. It was not a question of what he was entitled to, but of State policy. They ought to attend to the point which the recruits themselves said was the greatest difficulty in the way of recruiting. There was a very general belief that the shortness of food was the difficulty in the way of recruiting at the present time. The principle laid down by the Admiralty Committee was sound, that the State ought to give that which a man needed in the shape of food. At present the State did not give him that.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he was not in the least insensible to the appeal he made; but he asked the Committee to follow the course of the concessions which had been made, under the influence of the right hon. Gentleman, in order to avoid the difficulties to which allusion had been made. It was only six years ago, and then the trained soldier had 1s. a day pay, out of which he paid 3d. for messing and 2d. for stoppages. In order to add to the attractions of the service and to give the man more money in his pocket at the end of the week, the War Office induced the Committee to vote an extra 3d. to every man who had completed his recruit drill. That limitation was put for two reasons. First, it was urged that it was not fair to expect a man to go on serving after he had come to his full strength, and to a full knowledge of Ins work, at the same rate of pay as was given to the boy who had not his full strength or full trained ability. And second, because they were urged to establish a difference between the two classes. Again, the War Office obtained 1311 the permission of the Committee in 1901 to make a further very large concession, and give every soldier 2d. a day to carry stoppages. Then, next April, every soldier who had two years service would get 6d. a day on re-engagement. In other words, the trained soldier had formerly a pay of 1s. a day, then he had 1s. 5d., and soon he would have 1s. 11d.; and the difference between what he had in his pocket on a Saturday night would be 7d. a day formerly and 1s. now; and between 7d. a day formerly and 1s. 6d. soon, or an increase of nearly 150 per cent. He was more anxious than any man alive to see contentment produced in the Army; and he had done more than any man living to induce the Committee to agree to supply the wants of the soldier. It was now said, because they had done so much for the trained soldier, that they were damaging the position of the recruit. As regarded what was said by his hon. friend the Member for the Fareham Division, he recognised to the full the desirability of improving what he might call the attraction of the dining arrangements in barracks. The present Commander-in-Chief had given a great deal of attention to this subject, and. in this connection, the great expense which they had asked the State to incur in order to provide dining rooms should not be forgotten. They had now obviated the necessity of men dining in their sleeping rooms, or, in the case of cavalry regiments, over stables. He hoped his hon. and gallant friend would
§ not find it necessary to proceed to a division. If he did, he would find in the lobby against him many who sympathised to the full with the object he had in view, and who had done all they could to carry it out. In his opinion, the Committee would be well advised to wait and see the effect of the new conditions before they approved of further heavy charges being incurred.
§ * COLONEL LEGGE
said he felt some hesitation in withdrawing, because he felt very strongly in this matter. However, he quite appreciated all his right hon. friend had done for the Army; and he would again press upon him the great necessity of treating recruits well. He thought it was a pity that when the alterations in pay were made the question of the pay of recruits was not also taken into consideration. He quite understood that a recruit was an apprentice and should not be paid as well as a trained soldier; but he hoped the matter would not be lost sight of, and that some day or other the recruit would be better fed than he was at present.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not think him discourteous, but many hon. Members felt strongly in the matter, and would have to press for a division.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided, Ayes, 44; Noes, 110. (Division list No. 206.)1313
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Aurthur D.||Spencer, Rt Hn C.R. (Northants|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Burns, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.|
|Burt, Thomas||Labouchere, Henry||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall||Ure, Alexander|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Levy, Maurice||Wallace, Robert|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Crooks William||Lundon, W.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Delany, William||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Morley, Rt. John (Montrose||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Emmott, Alfred||O'Brien, P.J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Partington, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Shackleton, David James||Mr. Fuller and Mr. Bell.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Baird, John George Alexander|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Balcarres, Lord|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bailey, James (Walworth)||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Haslett, Sir. James Horner||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Heath, James (Staffs, N. W.)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Heaton, John Henniker||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ||Hogg, Lindsay||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire||Kemp, Lieut.-Col. George||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Worc||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Chapman, Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. NR||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants. Fareham||Stanley, E. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Stroyan, John|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester|
|Crossley, Rt. Hn. Sir Savile||Loder, Gerald, Walter Erskine||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon, A. Akers||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Valentia, Viscount|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Macdona, John Cumming||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Williams, Rt Hn J. Powell (Birm|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Flower, Ernest||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Forster, Henry William||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Gardner, Ernest||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gordon, Hn J E (Elgin and N'rn||Peel, Hn Wm. Robert Wellesley||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S)||Percy, Earl||Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong|
|Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormbhy-(Lincs.||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Purvis, Robert||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ * SIR A. HAYTER (Walsall)
said that before the Vote was finally taken be wished to ask a few Questions. In the first place, he wished to know why the amount paid for advertisements in newspapers had nearly trebled. Then, with reference to the contribution of the Transvaal to the Government or supplies requisitioned during the war, he apprehended that that was a final payment for all goods supplied during the var. A Question was asked the other day as to the delay in paying for these supplies; but the Colonial Secretary replied that that was due to swindling demands. He should like to know whether the new check system, under which both purchaser and vendor signed, was or was not a success.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that with reference to the increase in the amount paid for advertisements in newspapers, it arose from several causes. One was advertisements for recruits; another was connected with manœuvres; and a third was with reference to contracts, 1314 as they now endeavoured, as far as possible, to give information to the country generally as to War Office requirements, whether at home or abroad. All these resulted in an increase, which he hoped would, however, be justified, and, to a certain extent, recouped, as a result of greater competition. He was afraid he could not as yet give any information as to the practical result of the new check system; but they had every reason to suppose that it would prevent not only fraudulent demands but fraudulent receipts being given in any future war in which this country might be unhappily engaged. As regards practical results, however, they had as yet no experience
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, F.)
said he wished to ask a Question with regard to special allowances. As he understood the matter, under the King's Regulations, when officers and men were under canvas they had certain special allowances given to them. Certain regiments were now serving in South Africa, which were not, it was true, tinder canvas, although in ordinary circumstances they would be under canvas. They were housed in disused tin huts erected during the war 1315 for remount and other departments. It appeared to him it was quite as essential that special allowances should be given to the officers and men stationed in these huts, as if they were under canvas. Any other interpretation of the regulations appeared to him to savour of red tape. If these officers and men were for purposes of economy and convenience not put under canvas, but in buildings which corresponded to canvas, surely it would be enforcing the letter of the law rather too strictly to deprive them of allowances to which they would otherwise be entitled. Great dissatisfaction resulted from the refusal of these allowances; and he hoped the Secretary of State for War would pay attention to the matter.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said he wished to ask a question about the £50,000 which was put down for stores for China and Somaliland. He wished to know why stores were required for China this year, and with regard to Somaliland, he desired to ask if the suns now taken would be sufficient.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that with regard to the Question of the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Perthshire, his sympathies were entirely with the officers and men who were at present serving in South Africa, where the cost of living was extremely high. The question of allowances to officers was under consideration, and communications were passing between the War Office and the general officer commanding in South Africa with a view to seeing what could be done to decrease the very large expense of officers stationed in South Africa. With regard to the China Expeditionary Force, the amount was asked for for the purpose of repayment to India, and also for the cost of the force still in China. With reference to the Somaliland expedition, he was afraid that the question raised by the hon. Gentleman would give rise to a discussion which would not be in order on this particular Vote.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said that if £50,000 was not sufficient they would, of course, ask for a supplementary Estimate.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would state whether in his opinion the amount was or was not sufficient.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said his difficulty in giving figures arose from the fact that reinforcements for Somaliland had been sent from India, and some time must necessarily elaspe before they could ascertain what the Estimate required would be likely to be. If necessary, they would come to the House for a supplementary grant.
§ 2. £907,000, Militia: Pay, Bounty, etc.
§ MR. YERBURGH (Chester)
said he wished to direct attention to the position of the Militia battalions who went to South Africa. They numbered 180,000 officers and men, and, as far as he understood, the battalions which went out in 1901 and 1902 received very little recognition for their services. He himself thought that rewards were given with too free a hand, and that their value was accordingly diminished, but if the rewards had been too freely given, that in itself" militated against the position of the Militia regiments which responded to the call the country made on them. Six battalions went out in 1901. One commanding officer was either killed in action or had since died; and of the remaining five commanding officers, four received the Civil C.B. Why an officer engaged in war should be awarded the Civil C.B. he did not know. But the fifth commanding officer did not receive any recognition whatever. In 1902 fifteen battalions went out, but neither officers nor noncommissioned officers nor men received any recognition. Therefore it amounted to this—that the only recognition given by a grateful country to the twenty-one 1317 Militia battalions that went out was four Civil C.B.'s. He was aware that that had occasioned the gravest dissatisfaction in the Militia; and that the regiments considered that their services had not been properly recognised. The Militia had fought on a great many hard fields, and had always distinguished themselves; and they felt very strongly that the recognition they had received for their services during the late war was anything but generous; and there was a strong feeling that further recognition should be given.
§ COLONEL SANDYS (Lancashire, Bootle)
said there was a strong feeling abroad that the war services of the Militia had been imperfectly recognised. He also protested against the award of Civil C.B.'s to officers of the old constitutional force. One of the great difficulties at present was to secure competent officers to enter the Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteers, and gentlemen would certainly not be encouraged to come forward if it was felt that their services would be somewhat inadequately recognised. He believed it was the feeling of a large section of the officers of the force, that in connection with the late war their services had been lightly considered, and when the matter was fully understood the Secretary of State for War would probably be the first to recognise the fact.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he was grateful to the hon. Member for Chester, and the hon. Member for Bootle, for bringing this matter forward. The subject had been discussed for months past in the military and other papers, but, as was the case with many matters on which he could throw light, he was unable to enter into the controversy unless the subject was considered of sufficient importance to be brought up in the House of Commons. In connection with this matter an entirely false impression had been created in the Militia, and much criticism, for which there was no foundation, had been directed against the War Office. The desire had been to do everything possible, consistently with justice, for those who had volunteered. But justice had, of course, to be done to the Regular Army, and in estimating the 1318 awards it was impossible for the Commander-in-Chief—first Lord Roberts and afterwards Lord Kitchener—to put forward the names of men who had not seen as much service in South Africa as officers of the Regular Army, who for three years had been risking their lives. People hardly appreciated what had been done for the Militia in this matter. There was an idea abroad that in the issue of decorations the Militia had been greatly neglected. Setting aside the twenty-two battalions which went out at the end of 1901, there were 121 distinctions awarded to Militia officers alone, viz., sixteen Companionships of the Order of the Bath, twenty-five Companionships of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, and seventy-five Distinguished Service Orders. To be absolutely fair to the Militia, it should be said that eighteen out of the seventy-five were adjutants, who in most cases belonged to the Regular Army, arid should therefore be deducted from the figures for the Militia. Seeing, how ever, that over a hundred distinctions had been given to the Militia, although many battalions were in South Africa for a shorter period than battalions of the Line, the Committee would probably agree that there had been no intentional neglect on the part of the War Office.
§ MR. YERBURGH
asked, in order to complete the comparison, how many decorations and awards were given to the Yeomanry and Volunteers.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he could not give the figures off-hand, but it should be remembered that, by reason of the composition of the force, the Yeomanry were continually on trek and under fire, while many of the Militia battalions, although they did extremely useful work in blockhouses and on the lines of communication, were from the circumstances not nearly so often in contact with the enemy, and officers who had been on trek for a year or a year and a half naturally came under the eye of the Commander-in-Chief, or were reported oftener than officers occupied in more stationary duties. With regard to the twenty-two battalions which went out at the end of 1901, their service began in December, negotiations commenced 1319 in March or April, 1902, and peace was declared on June 1st. The longest period that any of these battalions served under campaign conditions was three months, whereas, when Lord Kitchener came to make out his recommendations, there were many officers whose service under campaign conditions extended over three or three and a half years. Lord Kitchener came to the conclusion, for which the War Office were not in any way responsible, that he could not mention in his dispatches the officers of regiments which, having gone c at last, had not had the opportunity of service that others had had. Lord Roberts and he (the Secretary of State) had been accused of partiality because these officers had not been given decorations, but it was out of their power to do anything more than they had done, as they could recommend to His Majesty only such officers as had been recommended by the General in the field. His hon. friend had asked why Civil C.B.'s had been awarded. Her late Majesty was advised to give annually a certain number of Civil distinctions to officers in the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers. The whole of these distinctions were strictly limited by statute, and only vacancies could be filled up. This year there were four vacancies, and on the recommendation of Lord Roberts the four commanding officers to whom reference had been made were put forward to fill them. Everything, therefore, that the War Office could do had been done. Their one idea had been to recognise in the fullest manner the services of the Auxiliary forces, and it was a matter of deep regret that there should be any idea that those services had been deliberately passed over. During the voyage home Lord Kitchener personally went through list after list and considered the case of each officer individually. No doubt mistakes had been made; it was inevitable in such cases that some men should come more prominently before the General's notice than others; but the Committee might be assured that both in the overhauling of Lord Kitchener's recommendations and in the original discrimination the greatest care was exercised with an intense desire to do what was right by all concerned. In the particular case of 1320 the Militia, nothing inure than had been, could be done without injustice to others, Hundreds of officers had been named by their superiors without finding their way to the Commander-in-Chief's dispatches. He keenly sympathised with those men, but he was powerless to help them, and when it was stated that in connection with the war 2,800 honours and promotions had been recommended to His Majesty, the Committee would recognise that the War Office had not been niggardly in their endeavour to recognise services rendered under difficult circumstances by a large body of troops.
§ COLONEL SANDYS
asked whether there was any reason why military C.B.'s should not have been given to military officers for military services. Civil C.B.'s might possibly be given to Volunteer officers, but he contended that Militia officers were entitled for military services to receive military decorations.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he should be very sorry to propose to change what he believed had been one of the greatest safeguards against favouritism, viz., the rule that no officer could obtain the military C.B. who had not been mentioned in despatches. That applied to every Regular officer, and pro tanto must guide the procedure with regard to Militia officers. The nearer the Militia is to the Regular officer the mope important is it that the same rules should apply to the bestowal of decorations.
§ * SIR A. HAYTER
said that they on that side of the House fully sympathised with the desire of the hon. Members, who had spoken, to improve the efficiency and content of the Militia force. But a stronger advocate than anybody on that side of the House was the Secretary of State for War himself, who, on March 4 of last year, said:—We are going to do what we can to encourage Militia officers. (1.) In the first place we shall give every year a certain number an opportunity of serving with the Line regiments, in order that they may have the benefit of the training, and also to enable Line regiments to have additional officers at these periods of the year. (2.) We intend to continue the system of entering the Army through the Militia. (3.) We recommend for this year the establishment of a Militia reserve of 50,000 men, who have already served in the Militia or completed their reserve service in the Line.1321 He thought those were most excellent provisions, for they gave the double advantage both to the Militia and the Line, that young men competent to perform regimental duties should for a certain time be attached to a Line regiment. But in the month of June, according to the Returns, no less than thirty-seven officers resigned Militia commissions in one single Gazette. The officers on the establishment numbered 3,667, but the total now stood at 2,812, showing a deficiency of 885 officers in the Militia service. That was a very serious thing, and therefore everything that was possible should be done to increase the attractions in the Militia. What was the state of the rank and file? The total was 138,000 on the establishment, but there were 20,596 short on January 1st this year. That was an enormous shortage, and it required the serious attention of the military authorities to make up the deficiency. No less than 9,200 had been lost through desertion, and it was a large increase upon preceding years. One or two steps might certainly be taken. He could not understand why no Militia officers were ever thought good enough tube adjutants of their Militia regiments. Whenever there was a vacancy, it was filled up by some captain in the affiliated Line regiment, and Militia officers never seemed to obtain those very valuable prizes. He doubted very much if there was the same system prevailing amongst the non-commissioned officers and men of granting long service and good conduct medals as in other arms. They could not qualify in the same way as other forces and that was a grievance which ought to be remedied. After twenty years service a medal was granted to Volunteers, but the privilege had never been granted to the Militia. The right hon. Gentleman said in March this year that—The Militia has done far more for the Regular Army during the late campaign than anybody could have expected of them. We are determined that the old constitutional force shall not be pressed out between the Regulars and Volunteers.He thought they would have to recognise one or two things with regard to their service. With regard to the camp on Salisbury Plain, the great necessity in the case of young soldiers was to relieve them of all unnecessary fatigue, and great care should be taken 1322 that the whole of the time they were out should be spent improving their shooting and their drill. He wished to say that on this side of the House they did not yield in any degree to the other in their admiration for the Militia, and they were ready to do all they could to remove any discontent from the old constitutional force.
§ * MR. REGINALD LUCAS (Portsmouth)
said it fell upon him, as there was no other Militia officer present, to say what were the feelings of both officers and men in that branch of the service upon this question. He desired to represent to his right hon. friend what had been laid before him with the justification of very high military authority, namely, the inadvisability of sending Militia battalions to train every year at Salisbury Plain. If they were told that Salisbury Plain was the only possible place where troops could be trained, that would be a very difficult case to answer, but as his right hon. friend the Member for Walsall had intimated, the situation at Salisbury Plain was very different from what some people who had never been there might imagine. It was so cut up with rifle ranges that it was almost impossible to go anywhere without being shot. They could not extend troops anywhere without marching at least three miles, and, as long as the musketry was going on, they had very little more room to teach young soldiers the elementary part of their training than they had at Wellington Barracks. It was, of course, a great advantage to a battalion to have ample rifle accommodation on the ranges so as to get through their musketry rapidly, and leave more time for field training and so forth, but even when a battalion had been put through its shooting, other battalions were using the ranges, and consequently it was almost as much tied to the camp. Then having done their day's work, there was really nothing whatever on Salisbury Plain to reconcile a soldier to his lot, or to encourage enlistment. He was, not advocating the pampering of the. Militia, but they must bear in mind that the Militia were civilians and not a Volunteer force, and if they did not want to pamper them at all events they 1323 did want to encourage them and give them some inducement to the military service, and they certainly ought not to throw any discouragement in their way. On Salisbury Plain there was nothing whatever to do. The ground did not permit of any recreation except a game of football, which might be a good game in winter but was a bad game in summer. There was nothing to look at except a few trees, and nothing ever happened except perhaps when al man came with a cart of oranges. And therefore the lot of those who had not antiquarian tastes and no great love of walking caused them to become so bored as to be almost demoralised.
He was speaking not only of officers but of men. They disliked the life so much that he was prepared to prove that recruiting was already falling off, and the numbers would be seriously diminished. There was another reason why men disliked going on Salisbury Plain every year. Many of them, who were men of business, thought it was a great convenience—almost a necessity—that in the course of their training they should be able to go home on Sundays, or whenever an opportunity occurred, to attend to their business. He was much struck this year with the large number of men who availed themselves of the opportunity of bank holiday occurring to go home, but many of them found it impossible to be back in time, and therefore lost a day's pay. But they were so anxious to go home that they were prepared to make that sacrifice. Let it be understood that their own counties were the proper places for Militia training. Such a rule would be not only a legitimate advantage and benefit to the men but a material inducement to renewed interest in the battalions, that would tend to the improvement of recruiting.
§ * SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
said that there was a battalion which numbered over 1,000 men when he was connected with it, and which always used to have a list of men ready to come on when they were required. He was sorry to say that that number had now come down to something like 400 1324 men. At the suggestion of the Commanders of the Forces in Scotland the deputy-lieutenants were called together to consider what was the cause of this great falling off, and they had testimony that one great fault was the system of drilling recruits at the regimental Line depôts instead of by their own officers at the preliminary training. When they went to the depôts inducements were held out to them to join the Line, and out of 200 recruits only some thirty-five came back to the battalion. Some were induced to join the affiliated Line regiment; a good many disappeared. It seemed to him that that fact alone accounted for a considerable falling off in the strength of that regiments, because in the adjoining counties where there were no Line depôts, their regiments were full and remained full, and there was not the same constant inducement for them to go into the Line. It was a most expensive way of getting recruits first to enrol them in the Militia and then to give them a bounty to go to the Line. That was the system which was still going on, and it was not surprising that there should be a diminution in numbers. Something had been said of the dulness of the conditions of life in camp. That dulness was experienced by the Regular soldiers equally. He thought it was for the advantage of the Army that troops should be trained in larger bodies than formerly, and under a thoroughly regular system. There was no doubt, however, that in the camps there was a great absence of amusement, and consequently much diminished attraction to the ranks. He had had conversations with old soldiers of great experience, who were exceedingly anxious for the welfare of the Army, and they said that in these camps there should be buildings where the troops could have I amuse men s greater than could be afforded by the canteens and other regimental rooms. Such buildings, capable of seating 1,000, had been erected at some stations at the cost of £3,000, and if that could be done in other places there would be amusement in the evenings. These buildings could be utilised as drill halls and for various military purposes, while they would attract theatrical 1325 and music-hall companies. He thought the suggestion made to him by these old soldiers was a very valuable one.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that the number at present actually serving was 115,000; that meant a diminution on the establishment, but it was very little different from what it was a few years ago. The most difficult point was with regard to officers. They must hope that the Royal Commission which was now sitting might, if it.did not find a remedy, recommend sweeping changes in the constitution of the Militia and Volunteers. If they did not make very large proposals he hoped they would find some means of coping with the position with regard to officers. He should like to ask two Questions. One of them concerned the recent change in the Jersey Militia. The change made some time ago in the Guernsey Militia was fully satisfactory. The change in the Jersey Militia had been made much more slowly, and he wished to know what was the position of matters there. It was quite possible that his Question might be premature. The other Question was one which he was sure the Secretary of State would be glad to give information upon if he could. It referred to the position of the Militia field artillery. On this Vote this year they had an increase from 432 men to 1,298 for the Militia field artillery. That trebling of the Militia field artillery ought to lead the Committee to ask how far the War Office were satisfied, so far as they had gone, with that force. They must remember that they were relying upon the Militia field artillery to a considerable extent. Two years ago the Secretary of State for War said this force was necessary to complete his Army Corps scheme. Since that time certain modifications of his scheme had been made, and the House had been led to suppose that it was the intention of the Government to strengthen still further the field artillery. They had a right to ask what had been the result of the experiment up to the present.
§ MR. WALTER PALMER (Salisbury)
supported the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North East Manchester in regard to the desirability of providing accommodation for amusements. At Salisbury such 1326 a building as had been suggested was erected at a cost of £3,000, and billiard tables and various amusements of that kind were provided.
§ MR. FULLER (Wiltshire, Westbury)
asked the right hon. Gentleman to give some information as to the present state of the Militia reserve. He believed that the Militia reserve was non-existent, but the War Office were taking a sum on this Vote for the expenses and pay of the Militia reserve.
§ MR. MOON (St Pancras, N.)
said he was at Salisbury Plain with a Volunteer regiment, and they found that the work was so hard that they had no time for recreation.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he was very glad to hear the testimony borne by his hon. friend the member for St. Pancras, as to the nature of the work at Salisbury Plain. He did think that the question raised by the hon. member for Portsmouth an important one, but there was no doubt it would be difficult to accommodate the idea of military training to the notion of a fair amount of holiday which some Militia regiments had always enjoyed and naturally expected to get. Of course he quite realised that the thing must not be pushed too far. The military view was that if the Militia regiments in camp could be brigaded or brought into contact with the Regular forces that would be of the greatest advantage. Of course he must remind his hon. friend and the Committee that if they refused to have ranges at Salisbury Plain, and if they had left more room for manœvring, they would have spoiled the object for which the ranges were put there, because the troops would have had to march so far that it would have been impossible to carry out musketry practice. But the Committee should not suppose that Salisbury Plain was completely covered by ranges. He ventured to say that by marching three or four miles off, every Militia regiment they had could exhaust themselves without encountering the ranges again. He thought the Militia should not camp every year, but that they should at certain periods if possible go through their annual training in their own neighbourhood. That was important when they considered the recruiting figures. It was 1327 also important to try to find in the neighbourhood some means of recreation. He did not find that the military authorities were quite as anxious about that as some Members a this House. They naturally put training first of all, as they thought it was difficult to make anything like a soldier in a month. He could only say that he would give his attention to the matter. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the deficiency of officers in the Militia. The question of officers was of course a very difficult one, and he did not propose at present to enter upon it at any length. All these questions had been sent for the consideration of the Royal Commission. With regard to the officers there were two reasons that made it more difficult at this moment to cope with the absence of officers than formerly. The first was that the Yeomanry drew its officers from the same class, and there had been a great rise in the Yeomanry. The second was that the officers who bad patriotically given up their time to go out to South Africa had in ninny eases suffered very largely in their business, and, when all was over, it was natural that they should release themselves from the ties of the Militia, feeling that they could not give their time with due regard to their own interests. That was the cause of the reduced number of officers One step the War Office had endeavoured to take. Until two years ago any young man who desired to put on a uniform, and could induce the Lord Lieutenant of the county to make him a deputy-lieutenant, was able to obtain that uniform, which was very like that of an Army general, and he could wear it for the rest of his life. They had now put a stop to what lie thought was an unreasonable use of the uniform. In one county, which he would not name, but it was neither one of the largest nor most important, the Lord-Lieutenant had made 126 deputy-lieutenants. He himself felt it his duty to approach His Majesty on that question, and now they had laid down a proportion of deputy-lieutenants to the population which would not give that Lord Lieutenant more than twenty. What was more, the regulations now provided that no lieutenant could be made until he was twenty-eight years of age. He thought His Majesty's regulations on this sub- 1328 ject would be appreciated by hon. Members.
He would add a few words in regard to Militia recruiting, which the War Office had been carefully watching. It should be remembered that within the last few years 3d. a day had been added to the pay of the Militia, and the bounty of £1 had been increased to £1 10s. Then, three times during the winter months—October, December, and February—another £1 had been added, or £4 10s. in all, as well as, pay. That was a substantial increase of emolument. He could not altogether join with his right hon. friend in the appeal he made that the 1lilitia should be paid at the same rate as the Line. He valued the Militia exceedingly, but he valued the Line much more. The hon. Member for Wiltshire had asked as to the state of the Militia reserve. They would not require the whole of the money taken, but more men were coining forward steadily to join the Militia reserve—at the rate of from 150 to 200 a week. The present reserve only started four or five months ago, and the number was now between 4,000 and 5,000; and before long the total would be appreciable in case of mobilization to fill up the ranks. As regarded Jersey, a satisfactory arrangement had been made as to the Militia there, and they owed to the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, Major-General Abadie, C.B., very great thanks for the tact, judgment, and perseverance with which he had persuaded and induced the island authorities to recognise their obligations in the matter. As to the Militia field artillery, the position was this. The military authorities were most highly satisfied with the Militia field artillery formed in 1901, but they had not extended the experiment, because they wanted to see whether the results then obtained, when they had power to mobilize, would be maintained when the men would not be compelled to mobilize. He had not vet got the reports for this year, but if these were as favourable as last year, he was satisfied that they could extend the system, If they could induce the military authorities to take a favourable view of the Militia field artillery they would have gone a long way to secure a full establishment.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £480,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for the pay and allowances of the Imperial Yeomanry, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1904."
§ * SIR A. HAYTER
said he would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he could not take steps to make up the list of deficiencies in the Imperial Yeomanry, which seemed to be in as bad a case as the Militia. He saw from the Return that the officers on the establishment were 1,566, and the number enrolled only 1,016, or a deficiency of 550. As to the noncommissioned officers and troopers, the establishment was 33,256, and the number enrolled only 21,625, or a total deficiency of close on 12,000 men. Then the Returns showed that the deficiency was greater in some regiments than in others. In the country with which he had a connection—Somerset—the West Somerset regiment was short 224 troopers, and the North Somerest 330, or a total shortage for the tow regiments of 554 on establishment of 1,200 men. He did not know whether they were both entitled to have adjutants. It seemed to him that regiments which had only half their number, should not enjoy the same staff privileges as those who were full or nearly full up to their establishment. Again, the two Kent regiments were 500 men short. He should think very little of this if the recruiting was improved, but, according to the Returns, there had been actually no substantial increase. The number of recruits taken during the year was 8,845, as compared with 8,216 in the preceding twelve months. It seemed to him that they were spending a good deal too much on the staffs of these small regiments. He noticed 1330 that the East Riding of Yorkshire regiment, with an establishment of 596, had only a strength of fourteen. Why was it kept up as a regiment at all?
§ * COLONEL LEGGE
said he wanted some explanation about the Imperial Yeomanry and what they were for. It was a hundred years since the Yeomanry were first raised in this country, and they were then Volunteer cavalry raised under the Act of 1802, subsequently amended by the acts of 1803 and 1804. They remained under these Acts until two years ago, when the right hon. Gentleman introduced and passed a Bill quite at the end of the session, which completely altered the status of the Yeomanry. It put them under the Militia Act and converted them from Volunteer cavalry into mounted Militia. The officers had, in consequence, to get new commissions. When the right hon. Gentleman brought in his Army Corps scheme in the beginning of 1901 a resolution was passed in increase the Yeomanry from 12,000 to 35,000, and they were constituted a mounted infantry force for home defence. The uniform was to be khaki and the arm was to be the rifle and bayonet. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on one thing, and that was having dropped the Hindustani word "Khaki" for the good old English word "drab," which was good serviceable colour. But he found that some of the new regiments were by no means satisfied with that uniform. There was the City of London regiment with "blue grey tunics—facings purple;" the 2nd County of London with "scarlet tunics—facings purple;" the 3rd County of London with "green tunics—facings and busby—bag green, plume green and yellow." There was the Surrey regiment, of which his right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War was honorary colonel, which was dressed in drab tunic with scarlet facings. It was a very handsome uniform, because it was a lancer uniform, very becoming, he was quite sure, to his right hon. friend, who would set it of with great advantage. The cap lines of a lancer were simply a hat guard; but this regiment did not wear a lancer cap but a cow-boy hat, although it kept the lancer cap-lines! Then he found that these regiments had got other names. The City of London regiment was called 1331 "Roughriders." What was their business in an Army Corps to be? Were they going to break in the horses purchased by the Remount Department from the Omnibus Companies? The 3rd County of London regiment were called "Sharpshooters." Well, he always understood that sharpshooters went in from to prepare the way for the thin red line. But every soldier now was a sharpshooter, and he should like to know what place these County of London sharpshooters were to take in the Army Corps? The 2nd County of London regiment were called the "Westminster Dragoons." According to Johnson's Dictionary a dragoon was "a kind of soldier that serves indifferently on foot or horseback." But if this regiment were to be mounted infantry they would fight on foot; they would only be mounted for the purposes of locomotion. After looking through the descriptions of the uniforms of these regiments, he was reminded of Thackeray's description of the Hammersmith Hussars, which had a uniform of a yellow jacket, pink pantaloons, silver lace, and light-blue pelisse! With regard to the training, the Militia Act did not provide sufficient time for the training of the Yeomanry. Some information should be given on these points, and also with regard to the arming of the Yeomanry. The Committee had been told they were to be armed with rifles and bayonets. None of them had bayonets, but he had been told, though he could hardly credit it, that one regiment was armed with that antiquated and obsolete weapon, the lance, which was now only carried by Regular troops on ceremonial occasions as a relic of their departed glory. He also thought the number of the Yeomanry was largely in excess of the number required. He could not see what they wanted so many mounted troops for. "32,670 available for home defence and 5,226 available for naval fortresses." He would like some little information as to how it was proposed to use mounted men for naval defence. He would also like to know whether the time for the training of the Yeomanry could not be extended and what position they held with the defensive forces of this country. He noticed that in the Second Army Corps they were called the Cavalry Brigade, and in the Fourth they were called the Mounted Brigade. The right hon. Gentleman in his scheme of 1901 said he 1332 was going to put his money on the Yeomanry, and he had certainly done so. He should like to take some of the money off, but he did not know whether he would be in order in moving ally other Amendment than that which he had down on the Paper. He thought a great deal of money might be saved on this force, without imperilling the safety of the Empire.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £479,900, be granted for the said Service."—(Colonel Legge.)
§ LORD STANLEY
said he had almost hoped that the prejudice which in old days existed with regard to the Yeomanry might have died out; that those who were in the cavalry in the past might have come into line with those in the cavalry in the present, with regard to the force that had done much distinguished service in South Africa, and which was the nucleus of the greatest mounted force at the present moment. The hon. and gallant Member said the Yeomanry in the first place had too little training, and of course the more training that could be given to them the better the military authorities would be pleased. They had to give them as much training as would adapt them to military requirements, arid having regard to the composition of the force, they gave them as much training as it was possible to give. The training the Yeomanry received was, in his opinion, amply sufficient, and was at the same time the maximum to which the Yeomanry could be expected to go. The hon. and gallant Gentleman sneered at the names of these regiments, but the names were those which the regiments had held for years and years, and when they were put under the Militia Act and formed into a general body of Yeomanry, the Government, in his opinion, would have done wrong to have taken away the names upon which hung so much esprit de corps. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had spoken of "Roughriders" and "Sharpshooters," but he would be the last person in the world to countenance any attempt being made to deprive a regiment of a name upon which hung so much of the esprit de corps. Carbines had been done away with in the cavalry for some time, but would the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggest because they 1333 had done away with the carbines that the "Carbineers" ought to lose the name they now possessed?
§ LORD STANLEY
said these regiments would grow old in time, and he hoped the names they had given themselves would last for generations. The Yeomanry scheme was one of the schemes of which, if he might say so, his hon. and gallant friend might be justly proud. The figures of the Yeomanry not long ago were only 8,000 or 9,000. On the 1st of January this year they were 26,000 odd, and in this year alone there had been an increase of 3,600, so that the Committee might take it that the Yeomanry was a great living force. The hon. Member mentioned many regiments which were under strength, and asked whether the staffs of those regiments could not be reduced. No doubt there were some regiments under strength, but he believed that officers commanding in every case were doing their best to raise the standard. Some regiments, of course, had prejudices, and would only take one class of men and the Government preferred that the standard should be raised without in any way changing the status of those who come in. The hon. and gallant Gentleman spoke of others which were over strength, and asked that they should be reduced, but the most important thing in a regiment was its Establishment, arid it ought to be established in the highest possible degree. The Yeomanry was a force which had been developed quite recently, and its growth had been abnormally large, and with that had collie a proportionately greater deficiency of officers. In the matter of all Auxiliary officers it seemed to him a problem almost insoluble how to provide officers. He hoped they would have from the Royal Commission some suggestion as to how officers could be obtained. He was perfectly certain the authorities would be only too glad to get any hints that could be given to them as to obtaining officers and as to checking expense. There was one point on which he agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman, he thought it was a great pity that there should not be a design of uniform which was serviceable and cheap. Facings he did not mind, 1334 because they could be taken off. In the case of old regiments they must sacrifice something to the past, but in the case of new regiments he did think something of the kind might be done.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that those who sympathised most with the cavalry grievance upon which, the hon. and gallant gentleman, who was no doubt smarting from the removal of the weapon which made the cavalry of the past, had moved the reduction could not follow him in all his strictures upon the Yeomanry, but he thought the Committee generally would need to be assured that the Yeomanry were not being made a sham by making them show sometimes as Yeomanry and sometimes as cavalry. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had more justice in his attack on the names of the new regiments. Some of them had taken most pretentious names. The name of "Roughriders" was very pretentious unless applied to a regiment which really could ride. While upon this point he thought the hon. and gallant Member had something to go upon, he did not agree with his general strictures on the Yeomanry, but he thought the Committee should be anxious to see that they were not being put off with that force, which could not displace Regular cavalry or mounted infantry. There was some truth in the allegation that these troops were being used to some extent in the War Office Returns, both as cavalry and mounted infantry, and the statements of the War Office, and even Lord Roberts himself, had to be very carefully examined for fear that the country might be led to believe that it possessed a great mass of Regular cavalry, which it had not got. The Committee should insist upon seeing what was in the mind of the War Office with regard to the future strength of the cavalry; because, although the Yeomanry might be all they desired to see it, it could not take the place of Regular cavalry or mounted infantry.
§ MR. GUEST (Plymouth)
thought this was one part of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State for War, which offered most ground for congratulation, and that it had been a most signal success. Anyone who 1335 regarded the Yeomanry as fitted to play its part in the defence of this country in case of invasion, could not but congratulate themselves upon the increase of numbers, due entirely to the action of his right hon. friend. He thought it was unreasonable to complain of the Yeomanry in the tone of the hon. Member. There had been great improvements in the training and the general position of the Yeomanry since the prewar days. It was a great gain to have got them under conditions more nearly those under which they would have to serve. Through the policy of his right hon. friend there had been a distinctly better feeling towards the Yeomanry in the War Office, which was now prepared to make arrangements for the training of the Yeomanry and to allow the Artillery to come out and train with them, which was of great assistance to the proper training of the Yeomanry. He rose particularly to make two suggestions with regard to the subject of the training of the Yeomanry. In the first place, in his opinion it was unduly long, and he would point out that, just at the moment when they had changed the drill and had commenced to give them a far more simple drill than that of the Cavalry, which was difficult to learn, in proportion as they had simplified the training they had increased its length. If the Yeomanry had shorter training, a great many more men would join, because many found it difficult to leave their occupations for 18 days, who would gladly join if the training could be brought within a fortnight. The other suggestion he desired to make was with regard to the Yeomanry reserve. He thought for cavalry men to join the Yeomanry reserve would create invidious distinctions. What he desired to see was a real reserve for the Yeomanry. He believed it would be quite possible, by enlisting men with the basis of three years with the regiment and six with the reserve, to get as many men as at present, and to avoid losing altogether yeomen on the expiry of their term with the regiment. Many men had to leave from family or business considerations, but it did not follow that they had lost sympathy with the force, and it would be a valuable 1336 scheme if they could pass to a Yeomanry reserve. For a very small retaining fee men would go through a course of shooting, and parade one day a year; £2 a head would probably cover the cost, and. by that means a real reserve for the Yeomanry might be built up. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the matter his consideration.
§ MR. W. F. D. SMITH (Strand, Westminster)
said that his experience had been the exact opposite to that of his hon. friend. The difficulty in his regiment arose from men coming in the middle of the training and saying their employers could not let them remain the whole time. In one respect a town regiment had an advantage over a country regiment: it was able easily to get its men together for squadron drills, whereas a country regiment, scattered over a wide area, had great difficulty in so doing. In his opinion, the present period of training, considering the pay, was not too long, arid certainly it was none too long to acquire the knowledge a. yeoman was now expected to possess. The drill itself was much easier to acquire than it used to be, and he could assure the right hon. Baronet that the cavalry drill, as a whole, was not expected from the Yeomanry. As to the expenses of officers, in his opinion the sum granted to Yeomanry regiments was, as a general rule, quite sufficient. It was perfectly possible to run a Yeomanry regiment on the sum now given. There were certain items, however, in respect of which officers could be helped. Nobody would suggest that it would not be an excellent thing for every Yeomanry regiment to acquire a camp, but it certainly involved expense to the officers. No provision whatever was made for sergeants' mess, and there was no tent issued which could be used for a mess-room. These tents had always to be hired, and formed a considerable item of expense. With regard to the position of the permanent staff regimental sergeant-major, so far as he could make out, the Yeomanry regulations made no provision in that direction. Five permanent staff sergeants were allowed for each regiment, one of whom became regimental sergeant-major, and, with the adjutant, did practically the whole of the work, both on training and during the year. At present, not 1337 only was the permanent staff sergeant-major who acted in this capacity in a worse position as regarded rank than his Militia brother, in that he was not a warrant officer, but he was in a worse position than the sergeant-major similarly placed in a Volunteer regiment. The sergeant-major of a Volunteer regiment after twenty-one years service reckoned his pension under Class I., whereas a Yeomanry regimental sergeant-major reckoned his pension on precisely the same basis as a squadron sergeant-major, under Class II., and that alone meant a difference of 3d. a day in his pension. He asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to recommend the War Office to put the Yeomanry regimental sergeant-major on the same footing as his Militia brother, or, failing that, to put him on the same pension basis as the regimental sergeant-major in a Volunteer regiment.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
asked, in reference to the Irish Yeomanry, whether the noble Lord could give the Committee any information as to the number of regiments and the number of men to be raised in Ireland. On the general question, it seemed that the cost of the Yeomanry worked out at £21 per head. That was about one-fifth the cost of a Regular cavalry man, but if the men could not shoot they were not worth the money. He understood that they devoted their time on training to riding and manœuvring, and did not practise shooting.
§ LORD STANLEY
said there were two Irish regiments of Yeomanry, and they were given precisely the same establishment as the English regiments. He did not recollect the exact figure, but he believed it was 550.
§ SIR ELLIOTT LEES
said that although he felt inclined to stray into the path which the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had rather tempted them to discuss—the relative numbers of cavalry, mounted infantry, and Yeomanry in this country—he feared that if he attempted to do so he should find himself out of order after the first two of three sentences. He recognised the importance of the country 1338 being well supplied with mounted infantry, but whether or not the establishment of Yeomanry was the right way to accomplish this he could not discuss at the present moment. His hon. and gallant friend asked what Yeomanry were, and what they were going to do. At the present time it seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman hoped the Yeomanry would be available, not only for home defence, but that they would supply a certain number of additional troops to supplement the mounted infantry in case of war. The two objects were not always incompatible, but, at the same time, they were very different objects. If they wanted the Yeomanry for home defence they must try to enlist a rather different class of men than those which were required to supplement to mounted infantry abroad on foreign service. If they wanted men to volunteer in case of war, it mattered very little from what class they drew them, or whether they had any position or stake in the country, or any knowledge of the particular locality. The less stake they had in the country the more likely were they to volunteer for the extra pay. If they wanted Yeomanry for home defence they ought to do all they could to retain the British farmer in the ranks. There was no finer cavalry material in the world than the English farmer, who provided his own horse, for they were accustomed to a certain amount of discipline in the hunting field, and the British farmer, officered by his neighbour, whom he often followed all over the country hunting, was the ideal cavalry solider. This was the class of men who formed the nucleus of the first batch of Yeomanry sent out to South Africa during the late war.
With regard to the training period, he thought it was very difficult for a large farmer to go away for so long a time. The small farmer found some difficulty also, but the extra pay which the War Office now gave the Yeomanry compensated him for the length of the training. In the case of the large farmer it was very difficult for him to spare practically three weeks away from his business. On the other hand, it was ridiculous to suppose, if they took the Yeomanry as reserve in order to get volunteers to go abroad, that they could train them in the space of three weeks. 1339 They could not make a horseman in three weeks. They might give a man sufficient confidence to induce him to volunteer in that time, but it was impossible to unite those two classes and still retain them usefully in the ranks. When the Secretary of State for War brought his Yeomanry scheme forward there were a great many Yeomanry officers in the House, and they protested against the increased length of the training, but the right hon. Gentleman assured them that the fullest permission would be given to commanding officers to grant leave to their men. He believed that the whole solution of this problem lay in trusting the commanding officers, and giving them fuller powers to choose the best men they could get to command Yeomanry regiments, who must be of local standing, and who should also possess military knowledge, and be efficient. When they had chosen the commanding officers they should give them a free hand and trust them to produce the best regiments that local circumstances would permit. The War Office would ' probably say that that had been their intention all through, but if they intended it to be carried out, and the commanding officers were allowed a free hand, this fact should be impressed upon the generals commanding the Army Corps. It was almost impossible for the officers commanding the Yeomanry to go against the wishes of the generals commanding the Army Corps, and they should be informed that they were to allow the commanding officers to have a free hand. With regard to the training, there seemed no reason why the first four days should not be given up, where necessary, to recruit drill or to the riding-school drill, but it would be ridiculous to ask men to do this who had been accustomed to riding and might be even more efficient in this respect than the officers. He hoped his right hon. friend would take these matters into his serious consideration, because it was a lamentable thing for commanding officers to lose some of their best noncommissioned officers of good position, who attracted recruits of good standing, and even old Bisley veterans, whose services were lost because they could not devote the time to the training, owing to 1340 calls upon them at home. He ventured to bring these points before the notice of the right hon. Gentleman, knowing how anxious he was for the welfare of the Yeomanry, and what a good friend he had shown himself to be to them during the last few years.
§ MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
said the hon. Member who introduced this Motion for a reduction seemed to think that fourteen days was the only training the Yeomanry got. Be wished to point out that they had a great number of drills be ides those they got when they went to camp, although that was a very important portion of their training. His hon. friend the Member for Plymouth had suggested separate training for regiments, accordingly as they came from the town or the country. A great many regiments contained men both from the town and the country. The regiment he belonged to was recruited partly in the country and partly in the town. There was a very great difference between the men from the town and from the country, because even in a small country town, as a rule, they knew as little about riding as they did in London. The hon. Member opposite had called attention to the small numbers in these regiments, but he should remember that they had only very recently been started, and he did not think it was a good thing to fill up a regiment at once. By taking time they were able to show that some standard was required to join the regiment. Some commanding officers were very stringent in regard to the conditions they imposed; and that should not be interfered with. As to the length of training, he should like it made longer if possible. He was aware that there was a difficulty in giving training in places not outside their own county, although that would be an enormous advantage in many cases. In his own county there was really no place where they could drill 400 or 500 men. His regiment contained a good many townsmen, and if they were obliged to take their fortnight's training outside the county they would probably leave the regiment. He was glad to hear the noble Lord speak about the growing expense of officers, because that was a matter of great importance in many new 1341 regiments. There appeared to be a great determination that these new regiments should be run upon a very economical basis, and upon that matter he rather agreed with the criticisms made by the mover of this reduction. The full dress for officers was, of course, purely voluntary, but it soon became practically compulsory, and very difficult for officers to avoid. Then there was the question of the full, smart, dress for the men. In this respect very often there was dissatisfaction caused because a neighbouring county had a very smart dress for the men, while another county had not. He thought the Secretary of State for War should give some attention to that matter, and that he should be even stricter with commanding officers than he had been, with reference to the growing expense of Yeomanry officers. He had taken some trouble to recruit officers himself, and he was always asked what would be the expense. That was a difficult thing to give a definite answer upon, because the expense was rather uncertain. The only thing that was not uncertain was that the expense was generally great.
Another matter which he should like to complain about was that the training was very short, and that the amount of work done during the training was diminished by several causes. In the fifteen days there were probably two Sundays, and then there was too much inspection. He should have thought that one day was sufficient for inspection, but it was supposed to he necessary that the inspecting officers should have two days for inspection—one day in field exercise, a sham fight, or something of that kind, and then the next day going through drill with each squadron commander or troop leader. That was a large amount to take out of this small amount of time available for training. It was certainly his experience, and he believed it was the experience of other officers, that the General of the district came down and said that he must have an inspection. Then the whole of another day was lost for the regular training, for something had to be shown to him which was not a part of the regular training. Then the General of the Army Corps came down, and he had to be treated the same way, 1342 a special day being set apart for him. He should like to suggest to the Secretary of State for War that possibly this inspection was a little excessive, and. that it would be better if they were left a little more to do their own work iii their own way. He should like to ask what were the regulations which permitted, in the same way as in the Militia, officers to join the Yeomanry and then pass through the Yeomanry into the Regular cavalry. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was going to move any further in the way of creating a separate force inside the. Yeomanry for foreign service. He could not help thinking that it would be an invidious thing to establish this class of men in the same regiment. If the necessity arose they could count on getting a considerable number from the Yeomanry for service abroad. Perhaps he might be allowed to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the great success of the new Yeomanry movement.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he could assure his hon. friend the Member for South Manchester that he sympathised with his remarks with regard to the number of inspections, but he thought that what he had said showed that the position the Yeomanry held in the country was such that, all those who were placed over them, desired to see as much of them as they could. With regard to the expenses of officers, he was informed that the expenses of the officers during training in some regiments, which he would not name, had amounted to £72 each. He did not wish to use strong language and say that that was a scandal, but it was certainly very undesirable. Whatever the War Office could do to prevent that sort of thing would certainly be done. With regard to the suggestion that regimental sergeant-majors should be made warrant officers, he understood that there were conditions, at all events, in the stronger regiments which might justify something being done in that respect, and he would undertake to consider the question during the autumn. Two serious questions had been asked—first, was this large number of Yeomanry needed, and, secondly, what was going to happen with regard to the Yeomanry reserve? With regard to the first, he maintained that of all the forces that had 1343 recently been raised, this body of Yeomanry was the most useful—for this reason, that it supplied the one thing we had never had, namely, a sufficient number of mounted troops which, if we were to make preparations for invasion, must exist to cover any army which might be put in the field. A cavalry regiment of 700 men cost £65,000, and for that sum 3,000 to 3,500 Yeomanry could be had; and, as had been shown in the late war, for our purposes it was important to have numbers of men on whom we could draw in an emergency. As to the proposal to put 5,000 Yeomanry at the service of the military authorities for service abroad in case of emergency, trained cavalry of the very first order was wanted now as much as ever; but a certain body of mounted troops, not so highly trained as cavalry, was also required who could assist the forces of the country and take a certain position in an emergency. It was that function which the Yeomanry were being trained to carry out. Some dislike had been expressed of the existence of two classes of Yeomanry. His answer was that there were two classes of Militia up to last year, and it had never occurred to anybody to say that a man who did not join the Militia reserve was a different being from the man who did. It was a question of pay. He did not regard the subject as dead, and he proposed to consult the Yeomanry Advisory Board arid the commanding officers on the subject, and if he secured the support of the latter, he hoped the Yeomanry Members of the House; would not make it too difficult to carry out what the military authorities, on the one side, and the commanding officers, on the other, desired.
§ MAJOR JAMESON (Glare, W.)
said he could not allow this Vote to pass without a protest against the very serious position in which the Yeomanry had been placed by the action of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War in placing a proportion of that force under totally different conditions from the rest Up to the present time the Yeomanry had been Volunteers, and he was astonished that so many Members in the House who had been, or were members of that force, had not protested against this revolutionary change in the constitution of the Yeomanry, who had been essentially recruited 1344 from amongst the farmers of the country to remain at home for its defence. Although the right hon. Gentleman proposed to give the Yeomanry a little more money, the new system by which their Volunteer element was to be done away with was bound to be a failure. During the late war was there not plenty of demonstration that the Yeomanry would turn out for foreign service if need be, and what then was the use of altering the whole character of the force? He regretted very much the alteration in the clothing of the Yeomanry. When he first joined the service during the Franco-German War, he had a very keen recollection that within a few months their heckles were taken from them and they were given helmets; and if the Zulus had beaten in the last war the War Office would have given them feathers and paint! The War Office were altering the Yeomanry, Artillery, and every other uniform in order to suit the needs of South Africa; and anything more absurd and ridiculous he never heard of. He had seen a Yeomanry cap the other day which was a cross between a French shako and a dustman's hat. These extraordinary alterations of uniform would not, in his opinion, bring recruits to the Yeomanry force. If a cavalryman and a Yeomanryman was not well dressed and thought himself invincible in love and war, he was not worth 1s. 6d. a day.
§ * COLONEL LEGGE
said he should like to assure the Committee that he duly appreciated the services of the Yeomanry, of which he was deeply sensible. He had not any intention of sneering at the new Yeomanry, and the illustrations which he had given were taken from official documents. He begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ £1,280,000, Volunteer Corps, Pay and Allowances.
§ * MR. C. R. SPENCER (Northamptonshire, Mid)
said he wished to know whether the War Office would be prepared to consider the possibility, or rather the advisability, of 1345 equalising the position of sergeant-majors in Volunteer regiments to that of sergeant-majors in the Militia. The sergeant-majors in the Volunteers did an infinity of work. They acted as paymaster sergeant, quarter-master sergeant and orderly clerk, they drilled their recruits, they attended to the range orders, and also did the work of the armourer-sergeant. He thought he was not asking too much in demanding that these noncommissioned officers should be treated in the same way as the sergeant-majors in the Militia. There was another point which interested hint considerably. On page 49 of the Army Estimates there was an item "Officers Outfit Allowance, £18,000." Last year the amount was £15,500. He would be obliged if some official at the War Office would inform him who were the officers who got this allowance.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said that some years ago, in order to assist officers, £20 was given to each officer for his outfit.
§ * MR. C. E. SPENCER
said it was one of the increasing misfortunes of age that he should have been debarred from enjoying that £20. He was not in command of a Volunteer regiment, but he knew there was a very strong feeling that Occasionally, if possible, their training in camp should take place in their own neighbourhood. That would be an advantage, he considered, for recruiting, financial, and other purposes. If the right hon. Gentleman would consider this point, most country Volunteer officers would be deeply grateful to him.
§ * MR. SEYMOUR ORMSBY-GORE (Lincolnshire, Gainsborough)
said he wished to direct attention to the question of the rearmament of the Artillery Volunteers. He had addressed a great many Questions on the subject to the Secretary of State for War and had been informed that the matter would be settled. Another hon. Member had been told that a number of mobile artillery would be armed with 15 pounders. That promise, however, had not been fulfilled. He considered that the War Secretary had perpetrated two enormities. He had inflicted great hardship on the Volunteer Artillery and still greater hardship on the British Museum and other institutions which contained antiquities of ancient date. The discon- 1346 tent felt by Volunteers was not altogether without foundation. There was nothing that so deteriorated a body of men as the knowledge that the work they were doing was utterly useless. The mobile artillery force had made great sacrifices. There were only five brigade divisions in the United Kingdom; and one of them he was connected with. It was all very well to say that the Volunteer Artillery were of no use. If that argument could be sustained why did they exist at all? He recollected a debate in the House of Lords when there was an acrimonious interchange between the late Commander-in-Chief and Lord Lansdowne as to the conduct of the War, and when Lord Wolseley said that Lord Lansdowne had advised him to send the Volunteer Artillery to the front with obsolete guns. The mobile artillery were now to be armed with 4.7 guns. That would destroy the very being and character of the force. To begin with, he had heard from various officers connected with the Sheffield and Lanark forces, that the men were not of sufficient physique to be able to move these big guns. That did not apply to the 3rd Kent or Lincoln, or to the 1st Monmouth. In 1891, the Inspector General of Auxiliary Forces, inspecting the 4th West York, said he was well satisfied with what he had seen, and that, though the corps had not quite the same degree of mobility as Royal Field Artillery, which could not be expected after only three days' mounted work, it was so, far as mobility and general efficiency were concerned, well worthy of field guns. Sir A. E. Turner further said that he had seen only two other Volunteer Artillery Corps so good. One was the 3rd Kent (Woolwich Arsenal), the other the 1st Monmouth, which in 1900 had done three months' training at Aldershot and on Salisbury Plain. Continuing, he said he might safely say that these three corps would be attached as Field Artillery to the new Army Corps, and would be the first to receive the promised issue of new pattern guns. But at the present moment these brigade divisions were armed only with obsolete 16 pounders. An additional grievance was inflicted on them by putting them through infantry foot drill, instead of cavalry foot drill. In fact, the Artillery Volunteer was at present of a nondescript and hybrid character, a mixture of 1347 modernity and antiquity—a sort of cross between a fox-terrier and a dodo. It was also said there was no chance of the Woolwich Volunteers being called into requisition, for the reason, that if war broke out, they would be required to work in the Arsenal. There was no substantial reason for that. They were not skilled workmen, but labourers employed around the Arsenal. It would be far better if the War Secretary were to look after material he had at hand than seek aerial schemes for military organisations in the future. Because the Artillery Volunteers were not properly armed, and because of the neglect with which his right hon. friend had treated them, the hon. member for Woolwich now sat on the Opposition Benches. He hoped, however, that his right hon. friend would pay more attention to the matter in future.
§ * MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire),
said he wished to call the attention of the Secretary of State for War, to two points, connected with the Volunteers, which were of immediate urgency. They were the inadequate supply of ammunition to the Volunteers, and also the inadequacy of the camp allowance. He agreed that the Volunteer Artillery ought not to be supplied with obsolete weapons. He had been told by a commanding officer that he had seen in a museum, at Hanover, guns marked obsolete, which were of the same pattern as those used by his own regiment in this country. Volunteers had to thank the War Office for very small mercies; and therefore, he was not surprised that they should have been thankful to the War Office for having granted them a little suspense until the Royal Commission had inquired into the whole subject. He was glad their case was being considered and that they would have a chance of proving that they were an efficient branch of the Volunteer service. Although he had criticized the policy of the War Office in connection with the Volunteers, he did not associate himself with the wholesale injudicious criticisms that had been passed upon the Secretary of State for War, because he believed he had done splendid service to the country at a time of storm and stress. He 1348 questioned whether any of his critics could have shown such ability under the circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman had done more for the Regular Army, Militia, and Yeomanry, than any War Secretary of their time. He had very much increased the allowance to these branches of the service. He believed his Yeomanry scheme as a whole was assured of success, and that success would follow his scheme in connection with the Regular Army and Militia, because he had based his scheme on large augmentations of general facilities and allowances. But he did not think the same success was attending his administration of the Volunteer force, probably because he had not had time to go into the matter thoroughly. In one year, 1901–1902, the Volunteers had fallen off from 277, 000 to 251,000, a decrease of 26,000 from 1901–2 till 1902–3, or 10 per cent., whereas the shortage of officers was still more marked. In 1897 the shortage was 1,188, while on 1 January, 1903, it was as much as 1,895, which was an increase of 40 per cent. He was an advocate of the sound policy of increasing the number and efficiency of the Volunteers in proportion to the increasing necessities of the Empire. He thought that, to secure this, the Capitation Grant should be increased to a minimum of 60s., rising to 60s. for various degrees of efficiency; there should be a more liberal allowance for rifle ranges and an additional allowance for going into camp.
A Royal Commission had been appointed to consider the whole subject, but there were two questions of immediate importance which the War Office was quite capable of dealing with without waiting for the report of the Commission. There had been a considerable shrinkage in the Volunteers, both in the rank and file and in the officers, and if the Government would take up the two questions he had indicated he thought they would do much to preserve the Volunteers in the condition in which they found them. With regard to the question of ammunition, Lord Roberts had pointed out that shooting was now the most important part of military training, and should be encouraged as much as possible. The War Office had encouraged it in the Army, Militia and Yeomanry, but the Volunteers had not 1349 received a round more ammunition to enable them to arrive at high efficiency. In the opinion of all officers concerned the present allowance of ninety rounds was miserably inadequate, and in his opinion it should be increased to 150, which was the least allowance that could be made to insure efficiency. The minimum allowance for going into camp should be at least 5s. He believed the success of the Yeomanry was due to the allowance they received for going into camp, which enabled them to go back from camp with from £5 to £7 in their pockets. If it was desired to make the Volunteers a success the men should have £1 or 30s. a week so long as they were in camp. They had proved their efficiency in South Africa, and it was a great disappointment to them that while the Yeomanry had increased by 150 per cent., the Militia by 50 per cent., and the Army to a considerable extent, by the judicious increase of pay, allowances, and facilities, the Volunteers were steadily decreasing, owing to more arduous training being required of them without the corresponding increase of facilities and allowances which should have accompanied the demand.
§ Mr. BRODRICK,
in reply, said it was not desirable to discuss this Vote at any great length to-night, because, as would be seen iron the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, the debate dealt almost exclusively with points which were now before the Royal Commission, and it would not be respectful to the Commission if he were to forestall their decisions on all the points raised by the hon. Member. On the other hand, if he were to make suggestions it would he like giving a lead to the Commission as to what they should propose. He hoped the Report would be out well before Christmas. His hon. friend must not suppose, however, that the Volunteers were suffering in the meantime. The numbers increased enormously during 1900 and 1901. On 1 January last they were 250,000, and by the latest Return in July the numbers were 256,000, while 176,000 went into camp last year. The question of money was a most serious subject. Nothing was easier than to raise demands which every Member of the Committee would be glad to meet if he could, but the concession of 5s. asked by 1350 his hon. friend would mean an expenditure of £112,000.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said there were many things well worth the expense winch they could not do. They had provided the Volunteers with 154 4.7 inch guns of the most modern type. On no previous occasion had so much been given, and it represented the extreme which the military authorities required in the country. They had Volunteer batteries of artillery in excess of what was required by the military authorities for national defence, but it was a subject on which the Royal Commission would doubtless give some advice Such armament caused the Volunteer Artillery to be as costly as the Regular Artillery. The question of sergeant-majors would have to be left until the Royal Commission had reported. Many people seemed to think there was a want of sympathy on the part of the Executive with the Volunteers. He assured the Committee that such an idea was absolutely unfounded. When Lord Roberts came home from South Africa the Volunteers were for the first time recognised as tit to serve the country in the first line of defence, and they were assigned that postion in the fourth, fifth, and sixth Army Corps; but at the same time something more in the way of efficiency was asked of them. That request hail been taken as evidence of want of sympathy. The War Office had fully recognised that unexpected demands frequently caused embarrassments, and they had not, up to the present, enforced any demand which had caused any serious reduction in numbers, but they had asked the Commission to consider the matter. When he first went to the War Office, the capitation and other payments for Volunteers amounted to £451,000 for a force of 218,000 men; today, with a force of 256,000 men, the capitation and other allowances were £1,068,000. That did not show any want of sympathy on the part of the the Executive; it showed rather that they had been very considerate, and they would continue to be so He hoped the Committee would now allow the Vote to be taken.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
asked what meaning was now attached to the phrase "field artillery" in this Vote. Two or three years ago the intention was to form batteries of field artillery in the ordinary sense of the term, but he understood that that intention had now been given up.
§ MR. BRODRICK
was understood to say that the proposal was to arm the Volunteers with heavier guns than the ordinary field artillery. He did not think the military authorities were willing to consider them as in the first line; they looked upon them rather as supplemental to than as taking the place of Regular artillery.
§ MR. MALCOLM
asked whether it was possible for the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Volunteers to obtain the camping allowance which, under certain circumstances, they would have received last year. The battalion comprised a large number of agriculturists, and they were told to go into camp in harvest-time. That was a most unfortunate order, and it would have been absolutely impossible for the battalion to comply with it in anything like full numbers. The commanding officer represented the case to the authorities, and pointed out that only 130 men out of 600 could go to camp, and they would prefer being brigaded earlier in the year. They were allowed to do that, and went to camp 400 or 500 strong. They made themselves very efficient, and they naturally expected to receive camping allowance. In that expectation, however, they were disappointed, because they were not brigaded at the time stated by the War Office, and they were mulcted to the extent of £430. That was an extraordinary penalty for a poor battalion to have to bear, and it might result in the disbandment of the battalion.
§ MR. BRODRICK
replied that it was a question between a higher and a lower allowance. Unfortunately the battalion did not get into the condition necessary to entitle them to the higher allowance. It was an exceptional case, and he had put it before the Treasury, but the Treasury, who were within the exercise of their right, felt that the 1352 higher allowance should only be given if certain conditions were fulfilled. Those conditions were not fulfilled, and therefore they did not get the allowance.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed. "That a sum, not exceeding £530,000 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 1904."
§ MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (Westminster)
hoped the Committee would not think it unreasonable that he should wish to make some comments on this Vote. There had been a reform of the Army Medical Service, the earliest and, perhaps, the most elaborate reform, as far as it went, of any which the right hon. Gentleman had produced. But this House, or this Committee, had had practically no opportunity of considering it, and he personally had not troubled the House on the subject for more than two years. He hoped that was an example of patience which would commend itself to the Committee. He would remind the Committee that the scheme of reform was first brought forward in October, 1901, in the shape of the Report of the Committee appointed by the right hon. Gentleman to consider the re-organisation of the Army Medical Service. In February, 1902, this scheme was remodelled and expanded by Royal Warrant. No opportunity was afforded of discussing it till the following July, when the Vote was specifically put down for the afternoon, and specifically not put down for the evening sitting. It was not taken in the afternoon, but it was taken in the evening when several of those interested had been informed on reliable authority that it could not come on and were not present. Another year had now passed and the Committee were therefore in this position, that they had had a scheme of reform of a very important part of the Army, brought forward, formulated, confirmed, and put into practice, without Parliament having had any adequate opportunity of discussing it. He thought he could show that it was not by any means a merely professional matter, but one that ought to 1353 understood and discussed by hon. Members, and could be discussed without professional jargon and made perfectly clear to the lay mind—the class of mind which he always thought, if it saw professional or departmental matters clearly, was the best judge of it. When the matter was one concerning the economical administration of one of the great Departments, it was still more incumbent on hon. Members to look closely into it. He was far from wishing to depreciate the work, still less the intentions, of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State for War, whose honesty of purpose, great industry, and many other admirable qualities, he respected and admired. He was all the more ready to pay him every tribute, because he was the first to alter—he perhaps might be pardoned for saving, to clear and elevate—the ministerial atmosphere that surrounded this question, and to make some acknowledgment to those who had brought it forward. But while attaching full importance to what had been done, he proposed to show, and he felt it his bounden duty to show, that if they left the matter as it now stood, and went forward in the belief that the Army Medical Service had been made efficient, or cast into a shape that would make it efficient, to meet the demands of a great war, they would simply court a repetition of those disasters which had followed every so-called attempt at reform during the last sixty years.
§ And it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee also report Progress; to sit again this evening.