HC Deb 16 July 1913 vol 55 cc1230-1

asked the Secretary for War whether he is aware that the disbandment of the 3rd battalion of the West India Regiment, and the reduction of the other two battalions by half a battalion each, has caused a block of promotion in the regiment; whether the War Office, in order to remedy this state of things, has offered the majors and senior captains in the regiment immediate retirement on £200 per annum; whether he is aware that having regard to the fact that these officers would in the ordinary course have been retired on £300 per annum at the age of forty-eight, or on £420 per annum in the case of those promoted to a battalion command, the War Office by the present offer is attempting to sacrifice the senior regimental officers for the benefit of their juniors; and whether he will undertake that the officers in question shall receive either such pension or such other employment as will place them in as good a position as they would have enjoyed if the reduction in the strength of the regiment and the consequent block of promotion had not taken place?


I am aware of the conditions existing in this regiment and of the offer made. It is made in the interests of the regiment as a whole, at considerable cost to the public; but there is no compulsion and each officer is the judge of his own prospects. It is not possible to give the undertaking suggested in the question.


Is it not the fact that if the offer is not accepted these officers may be compulsorily retired at the age of forty-five, and is not that practical compulsion? If they accept the offer will they not be in a very much worse position than they are now?


The hon. Gentleman is mistaken, it is not at the age of forty-five or 48, but 50; and these officers enjoy every advantage which they enjoyed before, besides an additional advantage which they receive.