HC Deb 04 May 1916 vol 82 cc113-4
55. Colonel CRAIG

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, in the case where a unit has a number of trained officers in the Reserve, there is any good reason for sending up reinforcements of officers belonging to various other units to serve for the period of the War; whether he is aware that the practice impairs the esprit de corps of the units concerned; and whether the officer's desire to serve with friends in a particular unit, the history and traditions of which he has been taught to respect and emulate, and for which he has spent some months in training, will be respected and carried out by those in authority in like case with that of the private soldier?


The case contemplated in the first part of the question seems to be that of a unit in which a large number of casualties have taken place which have to be filled up at once. In such a case military exigencies require that the best arrangements possible must be made on the spot, and the actual vacancies would be filled from the Reserve at the base. While this is so, I would assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that every endeavour is made to fill vacancies from officers belonging to the corps itself, but it is obvious that the military efficiency of units cannot be sacrificed to the desire, and I will say the natural desire, of officers to serve only alongside their friends.

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