HC Deb 16 July 1912 vol 41 cc196-7
22. Mr. HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state how many of the 88,000 men taken for military training in the United Kingdom in 1910 were under the age of nineteen?

Colonel SEELY

The figures, which can only be calculated approximately, amount to about 52,000.


Are we to understand that these boys are supposed to be able to carry a full kit of 59 lbs., march several miles, and fight at the end of the march?

Colonel SEELY

I know a great many of the men under nineteen years of age who are fully fit to carry any load and then, if necessary, fight.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great many of these recruits look like boys of thirteen and fourteen; what steps are taken to verify the age given?

Colonel SEELY

Every stop is taken to see that we do not enlist boys who state their age wrongly, and very strong action is taken where such mistakes occur. What I was asked was as to persons under nineteen. I do not call such a person a boy.


How many of these 55,000 young gentlemen would form part of the Expeditionary Force?

Colonel SEELY

Such as are sufficiently old and strong to take part in it.


These young men of nineteen—


May I remind the Noble Lord that we shall be in Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates in a few moments.