HL Deb 02 August 1898 vol 63 cc821-3

I wish to make one or two remarks with reference to the question which appears on the Paper in my name. An order has been issued by the War Offce to the effect that the permanent sergeants in the Yeomanry were to be used for recruiting purposes for the Army, and therefore they were always to appear in uniform. In consequence of that, Yeomanry officers feel that out of their pittance it is not fair that they should be called upon to pay for that uniform. On approaching the War Office on the matter, we were told that the uniforms of regular regiments would be given to these permanent sergeants, or else that an equivalent in money given, and the sergeants kept in their yeomanry uniform. After a two months' interval, I went to the War Office to ask the officer in charge of the auxiliary forces as to whether the War Office had made up their minds as to what they were going to do, and I was given the stereotyped answer that it had been handed over to another Department. Two months does seem to be a very long time for the Yeomanry to be uncertain as to how that uniform is to be paid for, and, therefore, I think it is my duty, on behalf of the Yeomanry regiments, to bring the matter forward, and to get a definite answer from the noble Lord himself. We have heard many complaints of delay in War Office matters, but I am sure that the noble Marquess is not responsible for this delay. I certainly think it would be a good thing if the pigeon holes in the War Office were occasionally looked over, and business done more rapidly. I therefore beg to ask the noble Marquess if he can say whether the War Office has yet decided what uniform is to be worn by the permanent sergeants in the Yeomanry while they are engaged in recruiting for the Army, and from what fund it is to be paid for?


I think my noble Friend judges the War Office rather hardly when he complains of delay in dealing with this question. Only two months have passed since he brought the matter before us, and those two months, as he must be aware, are two of the busiest months in the year. Details of this kind have to take their chance with many other great and difficult questions with which the Department has to deal; but I can assure the noble Lord that, the matter was not lost sight of, and I am able to tell him how we propose to meet the point which he has raised. As the noble Lord has stated, it has recently been decided that the sergeants on the permanent staff of the Yeomanry shall, when not engaged with their Yeomanry corps, be employed on recruiting duties for the Army. This decision entailing, as it does, their wearing their uniforms much more frequently than before, will undoubtedly lead to extra expense in clothing. We recognise that this expense will be incurred in the interests of the Army as a whole, and not in those of the Yeomanry, and we admit the justice of the plea that no extra expense should fall upon Yeomanry corps by reason of the employment of these sergeants as Array recruiters. We propose, therefore, in future to supply to each sergeant so employed the undress uniform of the cavalry regiment to which he belongs; and it is upon that dress that the extra wear, caused by his recruiting duties, will fall. His full dress Yeomanry uniform will continue, as heretofore, to be provided by the corps out of the annual allowance granted to it for that purpose. I trust that this solution will be satisfactory to the Force, and to my noble Friend.

Subject dropped.