HL Deb 16 June 1873 vol 216 cc986-7

in asking Her Majesty's Government, Upon what grounds the Annual Bounty was refused to men of the Militia Reserve who enlisted in 1868 and whose term of service did not expire till after the training of 1873; Also, whether the withholding of the bounty is not in contravention of paragraph 16 of the Regulations under the Act 9th May, 1868, and further explained by paragraph 10 of the Memorandum of Conditions of Service in the Militia Reserve, 23rd April, 1869, A (Militia) 136, in which commanding officers of regiments are expressly ordered to read and explain to the men three times during each training—said, he felt it necessary, though a commanding officer, to bring the matter before the House, because the men in his regiment had expressed themselves dissatisfied with what had been done to them. He considered that the clause was perfectly clear, and that the men who enlisted under it were to receive on attestation £1 bounty and another at the close of each annual training during the period of their service. That was a matter of much importance, and if it were desired that the Reserve men should not be dissatisfied, the payments which were promised should be made.


said the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Exeter) was mistaken in supposing that any instalment of bounty to which these men were entitled had been withheld. They had received the last instalment at the end of the training of 1872. Their original engagement was made at the end of the training of 1868, when they received £1 in the nature of a retaining fee. The noble Marquess would therefore see that for their five trainings they had received £5. He felt bound to acknowledge that the original Regulation might have been framed more clearly, but as far as he was aware there had never been any doubt as to the amount to be paid, and no misapprehension had arisen except in the case of two regiments.


pointed out that the precedent which had been made by the War Office was not a good one, and complained of the way in which the regulations had been drawn; for as they stood they admitted of two interpretations, and the men might reasonably consider that they were entitled to another £1 each. He understood that some 300 or 400 of the men to whom reference had been made were so discontented that they would not enter into a new engagement. Would it not be a proper thing for the Inspector General of Militia to look into it at once, and see if the services of these men could not be retained?


said, he could not understand how any misconception could have arisen.


said, the difficulty had, without doubt, arisen through the ambiguous wording of the Memorandum, and that it was extremely to be regretted there should have been any hitch in reference to Militia engagements.