MAJOR MCMIOKING (Kircudbrightshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what beneficial results will be obtained by changing the terms of enlistment for the Horse and Field Artillery from three years service with the colours and nine with the reserve, to six years with the colours and six with the reserve.
§ MR. HALDANE
The terms of service for the Horse and Field Artillery are to be changed from three yours colour service and nine years in the reserve to six years colour service (with the extra year if serving abroad) and six years in the reserve, in consequence of the difficulties of finding drafts for the Artillery in India and the Colonies. The terms of service were changed in the Infantry from three years colour service and nine years reserve service to nine years colour service and throe years reserve service two years ago in consequence of the break-down in the provision of the drafts in that arm, owing to the disinclination of the men to extend their service in sufficient numbers. The same situation is now reproduced in the case of the Artillery, the number who extend not being sufficient to ensure the provision of drafts. In the case of the Colonies we are already unable to provide drafts from the extended men, and this will become true of India also. To send out men who do not extend and return in a year is not very costly, but does not tend to efficiency. The term decided upon is the shortest term that will provide the necessary reserves on mobilisation whilst ensuring the provision of drafts in India and the Colonies. On account of draft difficulties—as it was in the case of the Infantry—it has now become necessary to increase the term of colour service from three to six years. Moreover, there are other advantages in the change proposed. Reservists after six years with the colours are superior to reservists who have been only three years with the colours, and under the new scheme it is hoped that we shall have a reserve of additional trained Artillery officers from the new source.