HC Deb 11 February 1908 vol 183 cc1523-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if it be intended to reduce the number of men serving in the First Volunteer Battalion, Manchester Regiment, of which the headquarters are in Wigan.

MR. A. WILLIAMSON (Elgin and Nairn)

I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for War if the Territorial Army scheme involved a reduction in the number of Volunteers in the counties of Moray and Nairn to about one-half; if he has received memorials from the county council of Morayshire and from the town councils of Elgin and Forres petitioning against the proposed reduction; and if, in view of any such petitions and of the strong feeling which has been aroused, and having in view the record and services of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, he can now see his way to sanction the allocation of a battalion of the Territorial Army to the counties named.


The quota of troops which each county is to be asked to raise has not yet been finally settled. A scheme based partly upon population and partly upon units already existing has already been communicated to County Associations. They have been asked to consider this scheme and confer with the General Officers Commanding of their respective commands upon it. Until the reports of these conferences and the recommendations made at them have been considered by the Army Council and received its approval, it is impossible to say how far existing units will be affected by the new scheme, and I cannot therefore, reply to the specific points the hon. Gentleman raises. As regards the Question of the hon. Member for Elgin and Nairn, memorials have been received from the county council of Elgin and from the Elgin Town Council.


In the event of its being impossible to allocate a whole battalion to the county, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of allocating to it some other branch of the service so that the services of a large number of Volunteers may not be lost to the county?


When will the right hon. Gentleman be able to answer my Question?


When we have got the Report of the General Officer Commanding, which I hope will be very shortly, the Army Council will be able to consider the matter. We are doing our best to avail ourselves of the services of Volunteers, but, of course, military circumstances may preclude our taking advantage of the offer.