HL Deb 12 April 1878 vol 239 cc1193-5

called the attention of the Under Secretary of State for War to certain deficiencies in the clothing and equipment of the Militia Artillery. The noble Lord was understood to say that one of the most important points in the organization of our Military Force was to secure uniformity between the Regular and the Auxiliary Forces; and, in particular, he thought the dress and equipment of the Militia should be brought as nearly as practicable into uniformity with the Line regiments. His particular point on the present occasion was to direct his noble Friend's attention to the dissimilarity—the unnecessary dissimilarity—between the clothing of the Militia Artillery and that of the Royal Artillery. He had taken great interest in the question of the organization of the Militia Force for the last 25 years, and he could assure their Lordships that there was more connection between the two than was generally imagined. During that period there had been no fewer than four changes of head-dress, and none of them, satisfactory; and, as he regarded equipment and dress an essential part of military discipline and organization, he thought that such matters should not be left altogether in the hands of the officers in command, but that the opportunity of the new military system should be taken advantage of to assimilate the dress of the Militia to that of the Regular Army. Here was a case in point. The new helmet had not been delivered out to the Militia Artillery; but he knew that in one case the officer in command of a corps had been permitted to purchase the new helmet in case the corps should be embodied for service. He hoped the noble Lord (Viscount Bury) would direct his attention to the subject.


said, the noble Lord had complained that Militia Artillery were not equipped in the same way as were the Royal Artillery; but the only difference he had been able to show was that the Militia had not yet got the new helmet. In the event of the Militia being embodied, that deficiency would be supplied, and the officer to whom his noble Friend had referred would be recouped for the helmets he had purchased. This matter was gone into at great length in 1870 by a Committee, and it was then considered that the same equipment should be supplied to each Force, with the exception that an undress tunic only should be issued to the Militia.


regretted that the noble Viscount had not gone further into the subject. There were, he understood, serious objections to the new helmet. One corps to which it had been furnished complained that a man who wore it could not raise his rifle to his shoulder without knocking off his helmet. Then, if spikes were worn on the artillerymen's helmets, the men would blind one another with these spikes when stooping to work the guns. But this objection would be easily met by substituting a ball for the spike.