HC Deb 07 July 1908 vol 191 cc1481-9

*CAPTAIN KINCAID-SMITH (Warwickshire, Stratford-on-Avon) moved for eave to bring in a Bill to amend the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, and to establish national military training the Territorial Force. He said the measure was a sequel to the very valuable framework and structure created by the Secretary of State for War in his great Territorial Army organisation scheme, a scheme for which the right hon. Gentleman had not, in his opinion, received sufficient credit, although it would always remain connected with his name in the same way as the name of Mr. Cardwell was associated with the linked battalion system. In fact he believed that the scheme of the Secretary of State for War would survive and be a monument of his administration. The right hon. Gentle man was not to blame for failure to secure the full complement of men, nor must he be blamed if the units composing the Territorial Army were not really effective units. No one could make bricks with straw and no one could make the units of this Army real effective combatant units with the material at present available. The right hon. Gentleman had laid the foundation and built the framework of a great scheme. It was now for the country, by consenting to the system outlined in this Bill, to make the Territorial Army a really effective military machine, instead of a dangerous sham. He had tried to follow the many newspaper criticisms on this scheme. They all tended in one direction—the question asked was, would sufficient men be forthcoming? Never by any chance was the criticism directed to the point whether the units would be effective and competent. He had also asked many hon. Members of the House whether they supported the Bill. Some of them complained that it was an inappropriate and inopportune time for bringing it in, as they wished to give the scheme a chance and see what happened. He desired to be perfectly logical and consistent. They had a framework for the Territorial Army; let the country make it a really effective military machine, let them see that the units were effective and competent. That was the object of the Bill which he was asking leave to introduce. The first three clauses laid it down that any British subject domiciled in Great Britain—the Bill did not include Ireland— [Cries of "Why not?"]—should be liable at the age of eighteen to not more than forty-eight days military training, at the age of nineteen to not more than thirty days, and between the ages of twenty and thirty to not more than fourteen days every alternate year. They would not necessarily be called out for that period. The fifth clause laid it down that the period of training should be carried out in such manner as might be prescribed by Orders in Council; the sixth clause dealt with the preparation of the lists of persons liable to serve, and directed the County Associations to carry out the rules made by Order in Council. It also enabled any person to appeal against being included in the list. Clause 7 described who were to be exempted, the exemptions including persons who had served in the Army or Navy for a period of five years, those who had served in the police for ten years, those who followed the sea as a profession, sons of widows, persons who were habitual drunkards, criminals, or otherwise undesirable, Members of both Houses of Parliament, and persons medically unfit. Persons who were exempt, who also included aliens, would be required to pay a tax of one per cent. on all incomes over £40 a year. Clause 8 described others who might be exempted, such as schoolmasters and ministers of all denominations, members of the judicial bodies, doctors and attendants in hospitals, officers and non-coms. of the Army, Navy and Reserve forces, and prison officials. Clause 9 provided that persons unfit at eighteen years of age, but subsequently found to be fit, should be liable to serve. Clause 11 prescribed the penalties for failing to appear at the training. Clause 12 gave certain privileges to those who had served the full recruit stage and who could pass certain physical and educational tests. Clause 13 enabled those who had passed through the recruit stage to form a special Army reserve with the obligation to serve over seas in case of war; Clause 14 gave power to do a continuous training for one year and thus be acquitted of further liability, except in case of war, and Clause 16 provided for handing over the necessary funds to the County Associations in order to carry out the objects of the Bill. The period of training was not one which was necessarily approved of by the military authorities as likely to make a man an efficient soldier. They held that an essential condition was that the period should not be such as necessarily to interfere with a man's civil occupation; it should not be of such a length as to create a necessity for engaging other men to do the work of the young man while absent for his recruit's training. Employers after six weeks absence of a man would contemplate the necessity of engaging somebody else to do the work of the youth absent on training, and he did not think that either the youth or his parents should be subjected to the haunting fear of losing the civil employment. Again, it was not proposed that youths of eighteen should be called out simultaneously with those of nineteen years of age. He thought people were apt to pay too much attention to the question of the period of training and not enough to the question of the knowledge and efficiency of the permanent training staff. This Bill was brought forward in the belief that it would secure the training of those who would not join the auxiliary forces, and that it would also do something to solve the difficult question of the supply of officers.


interposing, reminded the hon. and gallant Member that he had exceeded the usual allotted span.


with an apology, concluded with an appeal to the House to give a First Reading to the Bill, which he believed embodied the only safe principle to follow for home defence. They must abandon a system which penalised the courageous and patriotic, and which put on the shoulders of the few a duty which should be borne by every citizen of the State.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act, 1907, and to establish National Military Training in the Territorial Force."—(Captain Kincaid-Smith.)

MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)

said the hon. and gallant Member had proposed a scheme for compulsory training for all men between the ages of eighteen and thirty, but he had not told them how many it would affect nor what would be the probable cost. Probably 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 men would come under the operation of the Bill, though that number might possibly be reduced, for the hon. Gentleman had led them to infer that it could be possible to evade this training by becoming either a Member of Parliament or an habitual drunkard. The school to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman belonged was anxious not long ago for compulsory service on the Swiss model, and the cost of that scheme worked out at £19,500,000 annually for an enormous force of 4,000,000. What use had we for such a force?

MR. MULDOON (Wicklow, E.)

Turn them on to the suffragettes.


said he did not think the suffragettes would want much compulsion in regard to military training. But he could not conceive circumstances in which a force of 6,000,000 or even of 4,000,000 men would be required for home defence. An invasion of these islands in force would only be possible if our Navy were driven from the sea. Was the House going to contemplate the possibility of our Navy being virtually destroyed? They would be traitors to their country if they spent a single penny on the military forces if they thought that there was the least danger of the Navy being destroyed. Their first duty was to see

that the Navy was strong enough to repel any possible invasion by force. The only other contingency to be considered was the possibility of a raiding force escaping the observation of the Navy. Again, suppose this country was invaded. Would they seriously contemplate meeting such a raid with the Territorial Force? The raiding force would, of course, be the pick of the enemy's troops, and we should have to send the pick of our Regular soldiers against them, not partially trained conscripts. The same consideration applied to the Territorial Army. The scheme of the Secretary of State for War might serve as a useful means for recruiting the Regular forces; but it was on the Regulars that we must rely for repelling any raids that might escape the vigilance of the Fleet. He imagined that this was also the view of the Secretary of State for War, for the right hon. Gentleman had complained that his Territorial Army was being discouraged by incessant Questions. His right hon. friend could not seriously propose to commit the defence of this country to a force which could be discouraged out of existence by the Questions of hon. Members opposite.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 34; Noes, 250. (Div. List, No. 173.)

Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O. Cross, Alexander Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Dalrymple, Viscount Morpeth, Viscount
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fell, Arthur Percy, Earl
Banner, John S. Harmood- Gardner, Ernest Rees, J. D.
Carlile, E. Hildred Hill, Sir Clement Rutherford, W.W.(Liverpool)
Castlereagh, Viscount Hills, J. W. Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hunt, Rowland Tuke, Sir John Batty
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. JA.(Wore. Lee, Arthur H(Hants, Fareham) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Clive, Percy Archer Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Dublin, S.)
Courthope, G. Loyd Lynch, H. B. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim, S.) M'Arthur, Charles Captain Kincaid-Smith and
Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.) M'Iver, Sir Lewis Mr. Beaumont.
Craik, Sir Henry Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Black, Arthur W.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Barnes, G. N. Boland, John
Acland, Francis Dyke Beale, W. P. Bottomley, Horatio
Agnew, George William Beauchamp, E. Bramsdon, T. A.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Beck, A. Cecil Brigg, John
Ashton, Thomas Gair Bellairs, Carlyon Bright, J. A.
Atherley-Jones, L. Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Brocklehurst, W. B.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Bennett, E. N. Brooke, Stopford
Baring, Godfrey(Isle of Wight) Bignold, Sir Arthur Brunner, Rt Hn Sir J.T. (Cheshire
Bryce, J. Annan Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pirie, Duncan V.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Henry, Charles S. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Power, Patrick Joseph
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Higham, John Sharp Price, C.E.(Edinb'gh, Central)
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Hobart, Sir Robert Pullar, Sir Robert
Byles, William Pollard Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Rainy, A. Rolland
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Hogan, Michael Raphael, Herbert H.
Cawley, Sir Frederick Holt, Richard Durning Rea, Walter Russell(Scarboro')
Chance, Frederick William Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Reddy, M.
Cheetham, John Frederick Horniman, Emslie John Redmond, John E.(Waterford)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Redmond, William (Clare)
Cleland, J. W. Hudson, Walter Remnant, James Farquharson
Clough, William Idris, T. H. W. Rendall, Athelstan
Clynes, J. R. Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Johnson, John (Gateshead) Richardson, A.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Collins, Sir Wm. J(S. Pancras, W. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea) Roberts, Sir John H.(Denbighs.)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Jones, Leif (Appleby) Robertson, Sir G. Scott(Bradf'rd
Cooper, G. J. Jowett, F. W. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Corbett, C.H(Sussex, E. Grinst'd Joyce, Michael Robinson, S.
Craig, Herbert J.(Tynemouth) Kekewich, Sir George Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Cullinan, J. Kettle, Thomas Michael Roche, John (Galway, East)
Curran, Peter Francis Kilbride, Denis Roe, Sir Thomas
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Laidlaw, Robert Rogers, F. E. Newman
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Lamont, Norman Rowlands, J.
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Devlin, Joseph Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis Scott, A.H.(Ashton-under-Lyne
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Lehmann, R. C. Sears, J. E.
Dewar, Sir J.A.(Inverness-sh.) Levy, Sir Maurice Seaverns, J. H.
Dickinson, W.H.(St. Pancras, N. Lewis, John Herbert Seely, Colonel
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham) Shackleton, David James
Donelan, Captain A. Lundon, W. Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness Lupton, Arnold Shaw, Rt. Hn. T. (Hawick B.)
Duncan, Robert(Lanark, Govan Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Silcock, Thomas Bail
Erskine, David C. MacVeagh, Jeremiah(Dowl, S.) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Essex, R. W. MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Esslemont, George Birnie M'Callum, John M. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Everett, R. Lacey M'Crae, Sir George Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim, S.)
Faber, G. H. (Boston) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Soares, Ernest J.
Fenwick, Charles M'Micking, Major G. Stanley, Hn. A.(Lyulph(Chesh.)
Ferens, T. R. Mallet, Charles E. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Marnham, F. J. Strachey, Sir Edward
Ffrench, Peter Masterman, C. F. G. Strups, B. S. (Mile End)
Findlay, Alexander Mengher, Michael Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Meehan, Francis E.(Leitrim, N.) Sutherland, J. E.
Flynn, James Christopher Menzies, Walter Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Molteno, Percy Alport Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe)
Fuller, John Michael F. Mond, A. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Gill, A. H. Money, L. G. Chiozza Thomasson, Franklin
Glen-Coats, Sir T.(Renfrew, W.) j Mooney, J. J. Thorne, G.R.(Wolverhampton)
Glendinning, R. G. Morgan, C. Hay (Cornwall) Tomkinson, James
Glover, Thomas Morrell, Philip Toulmin, George
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford. Murnaghan, George Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Gooch, George Peabody(Bath) Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Verney, F. W.
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Vivian, Henry
Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W Brampton Myer, Horatio Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Nannetti, Joseph P. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent
Hall, Frederick Nicholls, George Waring, Walter
Harcourt, Rt Hn.. L.(Rossendale Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r Wason, Rt. Hn E. (Clackmannan
Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose) Nolan, Joseph Wason, John Catheart(Orkney)
Hardie, J. Keir(Merthyr Tydvil) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Watt, Henry A.
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Nussey, Thomas Willans Weir, James Galloway
Harmsworth, Cecil B.(Worc'r) O'Brien, William (Cork) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Hart-Davies, T. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) White, J.D.(Dumbartonshire)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) O'Doherty, Philip White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Whitehead, Rowland
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Parker, James (Halifax) Wiles Thomas
Haworth, Arthur A. Partington, Oswald Wilkie, Alexander
Hazleton, Richard Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Wilkie Alexander
Heaton, John Henniker Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Hemmerde, Edward George Pickersgill, Edward Hare Williams, Osmond(Merioneth)
Williamson, A. Winfrey, R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Wilson, Henry J.(York,W.R.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon Harold Cox and Mr. Maddison.
Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.) Yoxall, James Henry