HC Deb 14 March 1906 vol 153 cc1219-21
DR. MACNARMARA (Camberwell, N)

To ask the Secretary of State for War if he can state the total strength of the British Army, regular forces, during each of the years 1896 to 1905 inclusive, stating the numbers of the commissioned and non - commissioned ranks separately.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) The figures are as follows:—

(Answered by Mr. M'Kenna.) All appointments to the Colonial Audit Branch are made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. The higher officers at present in the branch at the headquarters in London were selected from the staff of the Exchequer and Audit Department. Candidates for the appointment must satisfy the Comptroller and Auditor-General that they possess the requisite knowledge and ability for the due discharge of their duties, and that they are within the limits of age, which are fixed at from eighteen to twenty-six. Their physical fitness for service in the Colonies, including the west coast of Africa, is ascertained by one of the medical advisers of the Colonial Office. Some of the clerks were originally in the second division of the Civil Service, but the majority of the candidates recently appointed have been selected from graduates of the Universities. In some cases appointments have been made from officials already in the Colonial Service. The Colonial Audit Branch does not stand on the same footing as ordinary departments of the Home Civil Service, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General is alive to the fact that there are certain anomalies in the constitution of the department, and has under consideration a scheme with the object of removing them.