HL Deb 04 March 1879 vol 244 cc127-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for War, What arrangements the Government contemplate making this year in respect to calling out the Yeomanry for permanent duty; and in the event of a certain number of troop drills being substituted for the permanent duty, what pay will be allowed the troops attending them, and whether they will be allowed to receive it without having attended the previous three days' qualifying drill? He would suggest that the Government should, as there was considerable distress in some agricultural districts of the country, cause an inquiry to be made of all the regiments, whether they were willing or not willing to be called out this year. He thought that some regiments would desire to be called out, and others not.


said, that his right hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary of State for War explained in "another place" yesterday why the Yeomanry would not be called out for duty this year; audit was the same reason which applied to the Militia being called out for 20 days instead of for the usual period—namely, the economy that had to be studied in framing the Army Estimates of this year, and it had to take the form of curtailing the permanent duty of the Yeomanry and the period of service of the Militia. The plan suggested by the noble Marquess could hardly be adopted, because it had already been arranged that the system indicated by his right hon. and gallant Friend yesterday was to be carried out, and it could not be re-considered this year. His noble Friend the noble Marquess would remember that the Committee upon this subject suggested that it should be optional with the commanding officers to give the men 7s. per diem for every day's training, or 3s. 6d. per diem for four days when not called out for permanent duty but for troop drill; and, as to the last part of the Question, he might say that, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, the preliminary recruiting drills would not be insisted upon, but the men who came up for four days' troop drill would receive 3s. 6d. a-day, without any reference being made to those preliminary drills.


regretted the result at which the Government had arrived, as he thought the number of drills should be increased and not diminished. As in 1860 the Yeomanry were not called out for permanent drill, it would seem that that corps was made to suffer for their wars in India. It should be remembered that the farmers voluntarily gave their services; and he thought that the men who joined the corps should be encouraged to serve their country in the only way they could do. This was bad economy on the part of the Government; and he really did think that his right hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary of State for War might have found some other way of saving such a small sum as £6,000.

House adjourned at a quarter before Seven o'clock, to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.