HL Deb 08 March 1900 vol 80 cc350-2

My Lords, I wish to call the attention of the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War to the regulations by which retired officers in receipt of retired pay or gratuity which they have earned by previous service in the Army are deprived of the same on the embodiment of the Militia regiment in which they are serving, as well as the gratuity which is granted to the other Militia officers on the disembodiment of the Militia; and to ask whether it would not be advisable to remove these restrictions under the present circumstances. To make it clear, perhaps it would be advisable for me to read the paragraph which appears in the Royal Warrant, It is as follows— If a re-employed officer in receipt in regimental or staff pay, or pay as an officer of embodied Militia, has commuted his retired pay, a deduction equivalent to the amount of the retired pay at the time of commutation shall be made from his effective pay. If he has retired with a gratuity, the deduction from his effective pay shall be equivalent to the annual value of such gratuity, as determined actuarially according to the prospects of his life at the time of his receipt of the gratuity. I think it is universally admitted that it is of the utmost importance, as well as being most advantageous to the Militia, that there should be a certain sprinkling of Army officers in its commissioned ranks; but as long as such regulations as these exist it cannot be expected that many will be induced to come. When, a few weeks ago,* the noble Marquess gave in this House his very able exposition of the general military policy of the Government, all Militia officers were very pleased to hear his eulogistic remarks about that old constitutional force. The noble Marquess said the position of the Militiaman was to be improved by granting him free groceries the same as had been granted to his comrade of the Line. Having, therefore, improved the position of the private in the Militia, I trust he will now do something for the retired Army officers serving with the Militia, and, even if he does not see his way to grant them the gratuity on disembodiment, that he will find the means of modifying the paragraph which I have read from the regulations.


The regulation to which the noble Lord refers lays down that "retired pay shall not be issued to an officer for any period during which he is in receipt of regimental or staff pay, or pay as an officer of embodied Militia." The State has a lien upon an officer in receipt of retired pay, and if such an officer is required or allowed to emerge from his retirement and to accept military employment it would not be fair to the public that he should receive both his retired pay and the pay to which such employment might entitle him. The only exception to that rule which I can discover is that made in favour of Militia or Yeomanry officers, who are allowed to receive retired pay as well as Militia or Yeomanry pay while they are employed on the preliminary drill and training of their regiments. I am not aware of the circumstances owing to which this exception was made. The training usually lasts about a month, and we have therefore decided that, in the case of officers serving with embodied Militia, they too shall be allowed to receive both full pay and retired pay for a period of one month. It is not the case that the gratuity has been withdrawn. It has been ruled that it shall be given to retired officers in all cases where they do not derive any advantage in the way of pension or gratuity owing to their re-employment. If they do derive such an advantage they *February 12th, 1900. See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxviii., p. 1175. may elect whether they will retain that advantage or forfeit it and draw the gratuity.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past Five of the clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten of the clock.