§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
My Lords, I rise to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War the Questions standing in my name on the Paper—viz.—(1.) The number of candidates for commissions in the Regular Army, and the number of commissions offered at all entrance examinations from 1905 to the present date. (2.) The number of officers, including quartermasters, due to be transferred to the Special Reserve Battalions Infantry in time of peace and on mobilisation in accordance 360 with Army Order of December 23, 1907; the number of Line officers who have been so transferred; is it the intention to fill the places vacated by them in their regiments by extra officers appointed to the Line, and, if so, the number of extra officers required, and the number, if any, who have been already appointed to the Line in consequence of the transfer of Line officers to the Special Reserve; the number of subaltern officers at present required to make up the establishment of the Special Infantry Reserve. (3.) The number of Infantry Special Reserve Officers who have joined as recruit officers since the transfer of the Militia battalions to the Special Reserve; and the number of these officers who are at present candidates for commissions in the Regular Army, and the number who are not candidates for commissions in the Regular Army. (4.) The number of men now in the Special Infantry Reserve who on completion of their drill on enlistment have been rejected on application to join the Regular Army on account of not being up to Army standard as regards physical development, and who have returned to civil life, and are now completing their service in the Special Infantry Reserve. (5.) The number of non-commissioned officers and men of the Special Reserve Infantry whose term of service expires on or before March 31, 1910. (6.) The number of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Infantry of the Territorial Army who were absent without leave from the annual training of 1908, and the number who absented themselves without leave whilst the annual training of 1908 was in progress, and if any action has been taken in reference to such absentees. (7.) The number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men who have left the Territorial Infantry since its formation up to the present date. (8.) The strength of the Special Reserve Army Service Corps and Special Reserve Medical Corps in comparison with their establishments. (9.) If a Return could be laid upon the Table of the House showing the strength on March 1 last of all ranks of each of the twenty-seven extra Special Reserve Battalions, and the number of officers by ranks, non-commissioned officers, and men required to complete establishment, and the number of non-commissioned officers and men below twenty years of age, and the number of non-commissioned officers and men whose term of service expires on or before March 31 1910.
* THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (LORD LUCAS)
My Lords, with regard to the first question, there are four different categories under which commissions can be obtained in the Regular Army. I have the figures of all the examinations from 1905 to the present date. They cover several sheets. Perhaps the noble Duke will be satisfied if I give the totals in each category.
* LORD LUCAS
First of all, there is the ordinary way of entering the Army—namely, by Woolwich or by Sandhurst. Seven examinations have been held since November, 1905, at which altogether 2,102 candidates entered; 308 have passed into Woolwich and 1,154 have passed into Sandhurst. Then there is the method of getting in through the Universities, and there the commissions that have been given and the number of applications for commissions have fallen considerably short of the number of commissions open. Until July, 1907, there were always forty-two commissions offered to the Universities, and during those examinations there were in the first year only eight, in the second year six at the May examination and eight at the November examination, in the third year fourteen candidates who applied for and obtained commissions. After that there was a slight improvement, and in January, 1908, the number of commissions was increased to forty-nine, because from that time onwards the Colonial Universities were included. The numbers show a slight increase, the total commissioned being ninety-seven out of 315 commissions offered. The next means of entry is through the Militia, the Special Reserve, and the Territorial Forces. The number of candidates who presented themselves between September, 1905, and October, 1908, was 738; 544 commissions were offered, and the number commissioned was 458. Finally, there are the candidates from the Colonial Forces, and these included the Colonial Universities until the end of 1907, when they came in as University candidates, as I have already explained. Up to 1907 each year there were twenty-six commissions offered; nine presented themselves in the first year and six were commissioned, two presented themselves in 362 1906 and one was commissioned, and six presented themselves in 1907 and all six were commissioned. Since then there have been no candidates.
In answer to the second question, the total number of Regular officers, including quartermasters due to be transferred to the Special Reserve Battalions Infantry in time of peace and on mobilisation in accordance with the Army Order of December 23, 1907, is altogether 772. The additional number of officers required on mobilisation who will be found from the Regular Reserves or half-pay list is 150. The total number of officers who have been transferred, including those who were at the depôts and were with Militia Battalions, is 610, and of these 107 were transferred from the Line. It is the intention to fill the places vacated in their regiments by extra officers appointed to the Line, but we have hitherto only been taking for this purpose officers from those regiments who have got officers supplementary to their establishment. The number of extra officers required altogether was 223. The number who have been brought into Line Battalions in consequence of the transfer of Line officers to Special Reserve Battalions was 107. The total number of subaltern officers at present required to make up the establishment of the Special Infantry Reserve is 1,360.
The answer to the first part of the third Question is fifty, and the number of those who have not drawn outfit allowance and are therefore presumably candidates for the Regular Army is thirty-two. That leaves eighteen who apparently intend to remain in the Special Reserve. The fourth Question has been redrafted since the Notice was placed on the Paper, and we have not been able to get the information in time. It would mean a reference to all the recruiting centres. As to the fifth Question, the number of non-commissioned officers and men of the Special Reserve Infantry whose term of service will expire on or before March 31, 1910, is 5,032. In reply to the sixth Question, the total number of men of the Infantry of the Territorial Army absent without leave from the annual training of 1908 was—four officers, twenty-five non-commissioned officers, and 1,224 rank and file; but I am sorry to say our returns do not discriminate between those who were absent from the whole 363 training and those absent from part of the training without leave. I have given the inclusive figures for both. Our returns, I am afraid, do not show what action was taken against those who absented themselves without leave, but they do show that 104 men have been struck off for desertion or absence up to February 25, and in all probability the majority were struck off because they were absent without leave from camp.
In reply to the seventh Question, the number of men who have taken their discharge or been struck off for desertion up to February 25 is 1,522, exclusive of 186 who have died, 3,509 who have joined the Regular Army, and 439 who have been transferred to other arms of the Territorial Force. As to the eighth Question, we recruit for the Army Service Corps and the Army Medical Corps under the two different categories, known as category (a) (ordinary Special Reserve) and category (b) (men whom we recruit from the Territorial Army). Of the Army Service Corps under category (a) the establishment is 1,000, and the strength obtained so far is fifty; under category (b), the establishment is 2,500, and the strength, five; but recruiting for both these classes has only just been thrown open, category (a) last November, and, so far as category (b) is concerned, we expect these men to do one training with the Territorial Force before they join category (b). Therefore, as regards the number of men who can join category (b), you may practically say that the thing is not yet in working order. Then, with regard to the Army Medical Corps, in category (a) the establishment is 1,000, and the strength 657; and in category (b) the establishment is 3,000, and the strength, 183. The establishment of the Special Reserve Army Medical Corps has been revised because it has been decided to throw open to a certain number of men of the Regular Reserve of the Infantry an opportunity of becoming Reservists for the Army Medical Corps. We have a very large Reserve at the present time for the Infantry, and advantage has been taken of that to ask 1,000 men of the Infantry Regular Reserve whether they will go through a medical training course at Aldershot and undertake the duties of Army Medical Corps on mobilisation. That course has not begun yet, so we do not know what number of men will join. In reply to the last Question, we shall be very glad to lay on 364 the Table a Return giving the figures for which the noble Duke asks.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
Might I ask, with reference to Question (4) whether, if I repeat the Question with ample notice, the noble Lord will supply the information.
I am not sure whether it is obtainable, but I will certainly try and provide it if possible.