§ MR. HAROLD COX
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what is the total force of British troops now stationed in South Africa; whether the retention of those troops abroad involves the maintenance, under the linked-battalion system, of an equal, or approximately equal, number of troops at Home; what is approximately the nominal strength of this Home force; and what is the total cost to the British taxpayer of the troops in South Africa, and of the linked force maintained at Home.
§ MR. HALDANE
The total force of British troops now stationed in South Africa is about 16,350 of all ranks, and its cost to the British taxpayer about £2,310,000. The troops of all arms at home fulfil the double purpose of maintaining the forces abroad and furnishing an expeditionary force; and under any system some Home force must be maintained for these purposes. The linked-battalion system, which applies only to Infantry, aims at organising the Infantry at Home in as many battalions as are maintained permanently abroad; but there is at present an excess of six battalions abroad. For these reasons I am unable to earmark any definite number of troops at home as maintained in consequence of the retention in South Africa of the present garrison.