HC Deb 10 December 1912 vol 45 cc230-2
16. Major STANLEY

asked whether, after the lesson that has been taught in the Balkans as to the advantage that is gained by superior Artillery fire, he proposes to take immediate steps to provide an effective and modern gun for the Territorial Artillery in place of the one they are now armed with?

Colonel SEELY

The present gun in possession of the Territorial Force is an efficient weapon. The cost of rearmament would be very large indeed, and it is not considered that this is the most urgent Service with which we have now to deal.


Are we to understand that the gun supplied for the Territorial Artillery is one that would be effective against any Artillery brought against it?

Colonel SEELY

I say that it is an efficient weapon as compared with the guns in possession of various other Powers. It is a good gun, but it is not the best one, and the cost of rearmament would be very large.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how the rate of firing compares with any foreign gun?

Colonel SEELY

I am afraid I cannot answer that question offhand.

Captain MURRAY

Has there yet been time to fully appreciate what lessons have been taught by the Balkan War?

Colonel SEELY

No, Sir.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the Territorial Artillerymen are not worthy of a better gun?

Colonel SEELY

I must not be taken to mean that at all.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman has received a copy of a resolution, passed on the 20th November, by the East Biding Territorial Association, referring to the Balkan war, and bringing to the notice of the Government the present deficiency in the number of officers and men of the Territorial Force and of their insufficient training, and declaring that, owing to the increase of mobility in transport in the last few years, they urge on the Government the absolute necessity for some kind of universal service to be introduced as soon as possible for the safety of the country; and whether the Government propose to take any action, and, if so, what, to give effect to the views contained in the resolution?

Colonel SEELY

I have received a copy of the resolution in question, which I am informed was carried by a majority of one vote. The Government does not propose to give effect to the suggestion for universal service contained therein.


If the right hon. Gentleman does not propose to take their advice on a matter of policy, will he accept the statement of fact and see what remedy he can suggest to meet the shortage in the number of officers and their insufficient training?

Colonel SEELY

I do not think the House would allow me to make a full statement at Question Time in answer to such a wide question as that. I have already made one statement, and I hope to give fuller information in due course.


Can the hon. Member opposite say whether compulsory military service is the policy of the party-opposite?


That question does not arise.