§ SIR W. HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War how the arrangements are made for the foreign service of regiments; whether the Royal West Kent Regiment, now under orders to leave for Malta this month, returned to England in the winter of 1902–3, after twenty-one years continuous service abroad, including the Egyptian campaign of 1881, the Nile campaign of 1884, and the North-west India campaign of 1897–8; and why some other regiment with a shorter record of foreign service has not been selected.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
As I have already explained to the House in reply to a similar Question concerning another regiment†, owing to the present exigencies of the service more than half of the battalions of the line are required abroad, and it has accordingly been found necessary to curtail the period of home service. The claims of the various battalions who have been selected to proceed abroad have been most carefully weighed, and I am afraid that it is impossible to amend the selection without unfairness to others. I may add that the period of foreign service for individual men is in many cases very short, as a portion of their Colour service is with the battalion at home.