§ 78 and 79. Mr. HORNER
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office (1) if he will state definitely what is the status of an acting-paymaster; and (2) whether the Department to which acting-paymasters belong is essentially military; whether they are responsible for the correct issue of large sums of public money and their work is supervised by military officers; whether they have under their control, without any powers of discipline, soldiers varying in rank from private to quartermaster-sergeant; whether he is aware that their duties are as difficult, arduous, and important as those of many officers in other non-combatant corps; and whether, if it is not deemed advisable to 1821 give temporary commissioned rank to all acting-paymasters, some arrangement could be made by which a certain proportion of them could be granted this rank on the recommendation of each regimental paymaster or otherwise?
An acting-paymaster is generally a temporary civilian officer serving in an Army Department. The Department in question is largely but not wholly military in its personnel. The duties of acting-paymasters are generally to assist the officers of the Department in the supervision of clerical work connected with payments and accounting. Some of this work is performed by soldiers and some by civilians. The military discipline of the soldiers is in the hands of the military officers of the Department, and no difficulty arises from this arrangement. The fact that clerical duties are difficult, arduous, and important does not in itself call for their discharge by military officers. In a few cases, where it has been found necessary to send acting-paymasters to join the Army in the Field, they have been given military commissions; but for their duties at Home this is not necessary.
§ 80. Mr. HORNER
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he is aware that several acting-paymasters applied for commissions in the combatant forces, that in many instances no reply whatever was given to them, and that in many other instances the reply was to the effect that they were not eligible for commissions, as they were under agreement to serve as acting-paymasters; and whether he can give an undertaking that in future no obstacle will be placed by the War Office in the way of those acting-paymasters anxious to obtain those commissions and capable of serving.
I am not aware of any such cases as those referred to; but I can assure the hon. member that the War Office will place no obstacle in the way of eligible Acting Paymasters who desire to apply for Commissions in other Arms of the Service.
§ Mr. HORNER
Will the hon. Gentleman consider the list, if I hand it to him, of those men who have applied and been refused?