HC Deb 10 March 1908 vol 185 cc1296-7

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the action of a body of men, some, thirty in number, belonging to the 1st Herts Volunteer Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, who, fully armed with rifles and side-arms, and headed by three staff sergeants in uniform, are alleged to have been guilty of disorderly conduct at a public meeting held under the auspices of the Social Democratic party at Letchworth on 2nd March: whether it is to be understood that members of the new Territorial force are encouraged to attend in force at public meetings held to criticise military matters for the purpose of disturbing and breaking up such meetings; and whether he will take steps to prevent a recurrence of such conduct in the future.


A number of Volunteer recruits on returning from evening parade went into a hall where a lecture purporting to be on the subject of the Territorial Army to which the military were invited, was being given, and were joined there by their sergeant-instructor. On finding that the lecture consisted of a series of abusive statements interspersed with what he considered to be untrue allegations against the Army and its officers and men, the sergeant-instructor protested vigorously. The meeting was noisy, but it is not the case that it was broken up by the Volunteers. The officer commanding the regiment has drawn the attention of all concerned to the provisions of the King's Regulations dealing with the attendance of soldiers at public meetings.

MR. JOHN WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)

Is this the sort of interruption of public meetings we might expect if the policy of compulsory military training suggested by the Social Democratic party were adopted in this country.


These are high matters into which I will not presume to inquire.