HC Deb 25 November 1914 vol 68 cc1112-3
57. Mr. TOUCHE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if the War Office has recognised and approved the formation of civilian rifle volunteer and training corps, which are being joined in large numbers by men who, being ineligible for enlistment in the Army, are anxious to render some service and are learning to drill and use the rifle in case of emergency: is he aware that uncertainty has been caused by the impression, created by recent statements, that there is no intention of using these men as combatants under any circumstances; and will he say with what object their formation has been encouraged, seeing that it has not yet been determined whether, in the event of invasion, their position will be precisely the same as that of other civilians or whether they will be entitled to fight?


The War Office has recognised the Central Association Volunteer Training Corps and is prepared to recognise all those civilian rifle and volunteer corps which become affiliated to that Association. The feeling in the country has been such that there has been no need to encourage these organisations, which have been formed in large numbers in many parts. Their utility in time of emergency will be to remove stock and to help the threatened inhabitants, and lend assistance generally to the military operations.