HL Deb 28 March 1887 vol 312 cc1595-6

Moved for, "Address for Report of the Committee appointed last year to consider the position of officers in receipt of pensions and desirous of entering upon military or naval service in the Colonies; also the Correspondence resulting from that Report between the Committee and the Lords of the Treasury."—(The Viscount Sidmouth.)


said, there would be no objection on the part of Her Majesty's Government to lay upon the Table of that House the Report of the Committee or the Correspondence which followed; but he would point out that, in the latter ease, the documents were not yet quite complete. The Government, however, would consider what Papers could be laid before the House. He would state the result of what had been agreed to. It was manifestly in the interests of the Empire that no obstacle should be thrown in the way of the Colonies organizing their own defences in such a way as to become a source of additional strength to the Empire, and the Government, therefore, had always been anxious to further the efforts of the Colonial Authorities in that respect. Many retired officers of the Army and Navy wore at present forced to live a life of idleness, and it would be a great advantage to the Colonies that they should have the advantage of the services of those experienced officers. In that way the forces of the Colonies might be rendered efficient and trustworthy in case of emergency. What had been arranged was this—that a naval officer on the Active List would not draw his half-pay from the Imperial Government, but would look wholly to the Colonies for his remuneration; but, on the other hand, his services would count for increased pay and retirement allowance, and also for promotion. An officer employed an an engineer or torpedoist would be deemed to be in naval or military employment. Present holders of appointments in the Colonies would be given a month to decide whether they would hold under the old or the now arrangements. Any Army officer might count his time in the Colonial Service for pay and half-pay. It was hoped the effect of these regulations would be to give the Colonies the advantage of the matured experience of the officers of the Imperial Service. The present more rapid system of promotion caused by retirement after a certain length of service would give the Colonies more opportunities of availing themselves of the services of retired officers than they formerly had. It was not always convenient to present Papers which were not complete, and in ordinary circumstances it would probably have been better to wait; but, in view of the mooting of the Colonial Conference, he thought it would be very desirable that such Papers as were ready should be presented as soon as possible.

Motion agreed to.