HC Deb 15 November 1906 vol 165 cc79-80
COLONEL HERBERT (Monmouthshire, S.)

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether the Colonel Morgan who was recently permitted to retire from the Army Service Corps is the same officer who was entrusted with the i management and financial control of the field force canteen in South Africa during the war; whether, in consequence of the ability displayed by him, the transactions of that undertaking resulted in substantial profits; whether the accounts of its trading have now been subjected to audit and made available for public inspection; and whether, seeing \ that profits realised by such undertakings I can only be legitimately applied for the benefit of the soldiers for whom they exist, he will take steps to make known the amount of those profits and the manner of their disposal.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) Lieutenant - Colonel Morgan, who has recently retired from the Army Service Corps, was charged with the management of the Natal Field Force Canteens from their inception. When all the canteens in South Africa were merged into the field force canteens, Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan undertook the management of them until August 1901. He displayed conspicuous ability in the discharge of his duties as manager. In October, 1902, the assets and liabilities of the field force canteens were taken over by the South African Garrison Institutes. These institutes are administered locally by the General Officer Commanding - in Chief in South Africa, and audited by civil accountants appointed by him. In April, 1904, the General Officer Commanding - in - Chief reported that the balance credit of the canteens amounted to £103,528, adding that "this credit is wholly in stock and represents its nominal value, the realisation of which is very doubtful." Exclusive of this balance, £123,569 have been expended on behalf of non-commissioned officers and men, and £23,000 on behalf of officers' clubs and recreation grounds. As regards this latter sum the General Officer Commanding, having taken expert advice, considers that at least one-third of the profit was made by catering for officers.