HC Deb 14 May 1912 vol 38 cc943-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that General Sir John French stated that he was not correctly reported in the papers as saying that the Territorial troops were not fit and could not be fit to face Regular troops in the field, and that training on war conditions was absolutely necessary, he could give the House a correct and revised report of the words actually used by General Sir John French at West Ham on Saturday, 27th April?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

I am informed by Sir John French that, on the occasion referred to, after saying that his experience of the Territorial Force was that it had made extraordinary progress, he proceeded as follows:— I do not wish you to mistake me. I am just as convinced as ever I was that, before you can be pitted against highly trained continental armies in the field, a certain period of training after mobilisation and under war conditions is absolutely necessary, and you must make up your minds to that. But my experience of the last four or five years has strengthened my conviction that this period need be of much shorter duration than is generally supposed.


May we take it that the Territorial Force is not fit to face an invading army without a considerable number of months' training?

Colonel SEELY

I must refer the hon. Member to what Sir John French said.


Does Sir John French say that they will not be fit?


The hon. Member can refer to the words that were read out.