HC Deb 18 April 1904 vol 133 c369
SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can assure the House that no administrative changes as regards the Auxiliary Forces shall take place until the Report of the Royal Commission, which has been sitting for the past twelve months, has been issued; and if the Volunteer Vote will be deferred until that Report is available, so as to admit of its discussion by the House. In putting the Question may I also ask a Question of which I have given private notice, viz., Is it a fact that Sir Alfred Turner has resigned his post as Inspector-General of Auxiliary Forces on account of his dissatisfaction with the transfer of the control of the Volunteers to the Adjutant-General?


I fear I cannot give my hon. and gallant friend the assurance he requires. A change has already been made in the administrative arrangements of the Volunteer Force. General Mackinnon has been appointed Director of Auxiliary Forces, and I hope to appoint three officers of the Auxiliary Forces as his subordinates. I hope, in addition, to appoint officers of the Auxiliary Forces to the Department of the Chief of the General Staff and of the Quartermaster-General. This arrangement is a new one and will, I feel confident, be welcomed by the Auxiliary Forces. In answer to the latter part of my hon. and gallant friend's Question, I do not know when the Auxiliary Foces Commission will report, and I cannot, therefore, give any undertaking which is dependent upon an unknown date. I will, however, do my best to meet my hon. friend's wishes by postponing the Volunteer Vote for the present. The answer to the supplementary Question is as follows:—No. Sir, there is no truth in the statement that Sir Alfred Turner has resigned his post for the reason stated, or at all. Sir Alfred Turner, who has rendered great service to the Auxiliary Forces by his sympathy, zeal, and judgment, attained the age limit on 3rd March last. He was, however, good enough to offer to remain until arrangements could be made for carrying on his work. I accepted this offer, and General Turner has remained until the expiration of the additional term proposed by himself. There is no question of a transfer of the administration of the Auxiliary Forces to the Adjutant-General, for these forces have been under that officer, and consequently the Inspector-General of Auxiliary Forces could have had no such motive as that suggested. As I have pointed out however, in reply to the Question on the. Paper, it is now proposed to attach officers of the Auxiliary Forces to the Departments of the Chief of the General Staff and of the Quartermaster-General as well as to that of the Adjutant-General.