MR. SWIFTMACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether Captain V. C. Gauntlett, who has been recently brought into the King's Regiment, is junior in original date of 1241 commission to no fewer that six subalterns of the regiment and has seen no active service, whereas many of the officers over whose heads this gentleman has been placed have had experience in the field; whether Major Carter has been brought into this regiment from the Lancashire Fusiliers to be supernumerary, thus blocking the expected promotion of the senior captains and also indirectly that of the subalterns; whether, regard being had to the fact that with one exception, that of the adjutant, no subaltern of this regiment has been promoted since the disbandment of two battalions in 1901, when an undertaking was given by Mr. Brodrick, the War Secretary of the day, that no injustice would be done to the junior ranks of this regiment whose senior first lieutenant has a service of ten years, what is the explanation for the further blocking of the promotion in this regiment, which has been exceptionally slow, by the bringing of officers from other regiments into it; and whether, having regard to the feeling of disappointment produced by this action of the War Office, what steps, if any, will be taken to rectify it.
§ MR. HALDANE
The first-named officer is junior in original date of commission to the five senior lieutenants of the Liverpool Regiment, but he is nearly six years older than the senior subaltern. Consequently his eventual superannuation will cause him not to affect adversely the prospects of those junior to him. He has seen no active service, but age and seniority, and not active service, have been taken into consideration in placing transferred officers in their new regiment. The second-named officer has been brought in supernumerary to establishment; the Liverpool Regiment is not singular in this respect, other regiments having been similarly treated. As regards the other points raised in the Question I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to a similar Question on this regiment put by the hon. and learned Member on 23rd November.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great discontent among the officers of the regiment at having unknown men of junior standing placed over their heads?
§ MR. HALDANE
There is always discontent in cases like this, but we have acted in the general interest.