HC Deb 30 December 1912 vol 46 cc42-3

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether, in view of the dislike of the present compulsory system, he will take such steps as may be necessary to amplify paragraph 113, King's Regulations, or to issue a fresh paragraph in the Regulations for the coining year, so that, with the exception of the orderly officer of the day, no other regimental officers shall be compelled by regimental or other orders to attend church parades on Sundays (including Christmas Day and New Year's Day); (2) whether, as kit inspections will be held only at such times as company, etc., commanders may consider necessary (paragraph 113, King's Regulations), such inspections, or full-dress inspections, are permitted to be held on Sundays, including Christmas Day and New Year's Day; and, if so, as these inspections, especially full-dress inspections, involve Sunday work, often leading to discontent and subsequent punishments, he will take steps to have compulsory inspections and compulsory church parades, except in cases of urgent necessity, forbidden by Regulations in the coming year; and (3) whether paragraph 113, King's Regulations, is strictly adhered to in all Cavalry and Infantry regiments now stationed in the British Islands: if not. if he will cause such orders to be issued as will prevent Sunday inspections either of barracks or stables; whether the order stating that the holding of parades will be as far as possible avoided on Sundays include the compulsory parades known as church parades; and, if not, whether he will take steps to amplify the present Regulation in next year's issue so that it shall be made clear that the attendance of non-commissioned officers and men at Church of England or any other church parades is not compulsory?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

As under paragraph 1333, King's Regulations, church parades are compulsory for the men, one officer would not be sufficient, and further there would not appear to be any good reason for treating the officers differently from the men in this respect. In practice leave is frequently granted to large numbers of officers and men. I am not aware that the present system leads to discontent. As regards kit inspection or full-dress inspection, nothing is known of these taking place on a Sunday, Christmas, or New Year's Day.