§ *THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH rose to call attention to the present position of the Territorial Force. The noble Earl said: My Lords, I must ask your indulgence this afternoon because the various points to which I wish to call your attention are of great importance to the Territorial Force, and while I have a very large amount of matter I have found some difficulty in marshalling it, and I am afraid that my remarks will not be very interesting, and possibly not very intelligible, to your Lordships. However, my Lords, I do look upon this question as of so much importance that I have ventured to give notice to call attention to it to-day. The Secretary of State for War, in speaking on the Army Estimates in another place, pointed out that the Territorial Force has only been in existence for two years, that it must have time to grow, and that the best thing to do is to let it grow and to water and nurse it, and not to pull it up by the roots to see what progress it has made. With that view I entirely agree. My object to-night is not to pull the plant up by the roots, because, as a matter of fact, I am a portion, if only a small portion, of the root, and my sole object is to endeavour to secure that watering and nursing which we believe is absolutely essential if the Territorial Force is to flourish and grow.
§ I want it further to be understood that I speak entirely from the civilian side of the question. I have no authority to speak, and I have no desire to speak, from the military side. What I conceive to be the duty which has been imposed on County Associations is to raise the numbers and to secure that amount of efficiency which is contemplated by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act. The reason why I have selected the present occasion is that practically our first chapter is at an end, and we are about 5 now to reconstitute our County Associations. It is because I desire, if possible, to produce an improvement in the relations between the County Associations and the War Office that I have selected this particular time for the remarks that I have to make.
§ The first matter to which I would refer is the Council of Territorial Associations. That Council was formed with the approval of the Army Council. To-day we represent practically all the County Associations concerned. We are, in a way, the bovril— the concentrated essence—of the Territorial Force, and our Council is composed of the Presidents, the Chairmen, and the Vice-Chairmen; and the Secretaries of the County Associations are invited to attend whenever they have anything to say. I may say, at the outset, that it was a distinct understanding on the part of the Council of County Associations that whatever we asked for and whatever we were able to get was not to be diverted from the Regular Army. We fully understand that the First Line has the first claim, and that nothing must be taken from the First Line for the benefit of the second. One of our objects was to avoid perpetual questions in Parliament, and when we remember the importance of this question and the number of your Lordships e ho are members of County Associations—125 in all, of whom fifteen are Dukes and one is a Bishop—I think we may fairly claim, considering the small amount of Parliamentary time that has been occupied on this question, that we have been successful in that direction.
§ Our main object, of course, was to consider the various questions of difficulty that come before the Associations, and with that full authority to represent to the military side the civilian side of these questions. We have held many meetings; we have considered many questions; but the representations we have forwarded to the Army Council have been strictly limited to those that have been unanimously passed by our Council. In the original training instructions which set forth the principles to be kept in view in training the Territorial Force, special emphasis was laid on the importance of considering local peculiarities and the advantage of an elastic system of training. It may be urged that this is a question of training and has nothing to do with us, 6 but we claim that local peculiarities are quite as important iii the administration of the Force as in training, and we also claim that our Council have the best first-hand knowledge of local peculiarities. We claim, further, representing as we do the united opinions of the County Associations, that the recommendations we make to the Army Council ought to have full weight.
§ The first matter with which I wish to deal is the question of numbers. A good deal of criticism is often levelled at our present shortage. When we remember that we have not yet been three years in operation, I own myself I do not think our present position with regard to numbers is unsatisfactory. The establishment, as we know, is 315,000 odd men; the actual shortage, by the Return issued to-day, is about 43,000. What I think is also a very important point for us to consider is, not merely the raising of the establishment, but whether, when that establishment is once raised, it is likely to be maintained. I issued a series of questions to the various County Associations, to which I have received fifty replies. I asked, in the first place, whether the establishment was complete; in the second place, if not complete, whether there was reasonable prospect of its soon being completed; and, in the third place, if completed, whether there was a hope that, when the novelty of the scheme had passed away, it would be maintained. Of course, we understand that the answers to the two last-named questions must be purely a matter of opinion, but they are opinions formed after two and a-half years experience, and therefore I think are of value. Boiling down the answers received, I have formed the impression that in those counties where eighty-five per cent. of the actual establishment has been already secured those Associations are hopeful of completing and maintaining their establishment; but those Associations with less than eighty-five per cent. are either doubtful or pessimistic. Here again, of course, local peculiarities come in. I do not propose for a moment to suggest that the answers I have received are exhaustive, but they do show, I think, a promising future for the Territorial Force. In sonic localities we find that particular arms are the difficulty; in others, individual units. But I ought to point out that in almost every case in which a hope of maintenance is expressed, there are 7 certain provisos, and the provisos usually run that "if" sufficient funds are forthcoming, "if" the County Associations have a freer hand, and "if" the disabilities in bringing men to drill are removed, then they think they will be able to complete and maintain their establishment. It must be remembered that all these various matters do militate against recruiting generally.
§ The Secretary of State for War made what 1 think was rather a serious statement the other day. He said that, owing to men continually passing out and the time it takes to fill their places, even with ideal recruiting there must be a small margin short of the establishment, and the only question was how close we could keep to it. The country believes that our establishment is 315,000 men, and it seems to me, if there is to be a margin short of that, that if we are to keep faith with the country we ought to raise our establishment in order to cover the margin. The original scheme ignores almost entirely local peculiarities. We have to raise a certain number of Divisions with the necessary complement of arms, and the quota allotted to each county is according to population. That, no doubt, was the only course possible at the inception, but now that we have had experience we have discovered that the martial instinct—I mean the instinct that prompts men to join the Territorial Force—does not go according to population. To complete the original scheme there has been a disbanding of existing units in localities where probably that particular arm was suitable to the particular locality, in order to raise an equivalent in another arm which may be totally unsuited. A suggestion was made the other day in the National Defence Magazine, which, I think, is worthy of notice. I should like to be clearly understood that I am not now expressing the view of our Council. The suggestion is that if the present establishment is made the minimum instead of the maximum, it is quite possible that large and populous districts now precluded from contributing towards the Force would be able to provide a considerable addition to the Force as a whole if they were allowed to raise the particular arm which is particularly suitable to the locality. In fact, I understand there is one county which is quite ready to raise double the number of men allotted to it.8
§ Now, my Lords, I come back to our Council. I would like to remind you that we have, during the course of our existence, forwarded forty-three resolutions unanimously passed by that Council to the Army Council. Deputations from the Council of County Associations have been received on two occasions, and I should like to express the gratitude of our Council for that consideration. There are many minor points which we have brought forward upon which I do not wish to dwell to-night. There is the everlasting question of boots. Noble Lords may laugh, but it is not unimportant. We have induced men to join the Territorial Force on the distinct understanding that they are to be dressed like the Regular Army. They have a walking-out dress, but in the mounted corps we are not allowed to provide them with suitable boots, and to the civilian mind a walking-out dress without boots seems a little incomplete.
§ The question of the Permanent Staff was one of the first we took up. This has been a great difficulty with many Associations. In the first place, the duty is imposed upon us of handing over a Force more efficient than the old Volunteer Force. Obviously, efficiency very largely depends on the number of Permanent. Staff we get. Yet in order to secure that efficiency the first thing done is to reduce the Permanent Staff. A resolution was passed by my Council on November 9, 1908, pointing out the special difficulties of scattered units, and especially emphasising that in order to secure good men and the class of men who were wanted, regimental pay and allowances should not be reduced on transferring to the Territorial Force. That was considered at the first deputation. A War Office Committee was appointed to consider the question, and an invitation was given to representatives of our Council to attend. That Committee met, I think, on June 30 last year, and was adjourned on July 1. As far as I know it has not met since. I should like to ask the noble Lord whether the additional instructors that were promised in answer to a question I put in this House last year are available, and what is exactly the present position of the Permanent Staff with regard to the Territorial Force.
§ The next point on which I should like to say a word or two is the question of travelling to drills. This was a difficulty 9 that was foreseen in the original training instructions. Paragraphs 14 and 15 point out that members of the Territorial Force are working hard for long hours every day, and that the only spare time they get is on Saturday afternoons and on other days after six or seven o'clock; that it is no use to ask such men to travel several miles to obtain instruction, much less to spare time to cover long distances, and that whatever instruction they are given must be brought to their doors. What County Associations have generally found is that there are no sufficient means given to them either to bring instruction to the doors of the men or to bring the men to the doors of the instruction. We entirely agree with the views laid down, and I would point out that this is a matter which has a very serious influence on recruiting. How is this difficulty met? We are told that there is no objection, if other services are adequately provided for, to the surplus being used for this purpose. We point out that if there is no surplus the difficulty will be as great as ever. We also emphasise the necessity of giving financial assistance to enable men in the non-training period to go to drill, and of providing a sufficient Permanent Staff to instruct them when they get there.
§ Next I come to the question of weekend camps, and here I have a special little grievance in connection with my own Association. I do not forget that the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War on a former occasion reminded me that Staffordshire was not the only county. Since I have been chairman of the Council of Territorial Associations I have realised that fact. But I think it is important, where you have a special instance to bring forward which you consider will strengthen your case, that you should speak from first-hand knowledge. The importance of week-end camps as part of the extra training is acknowledged and encouraged by the military authorities, and a regulation scale of camp allowance is laid down. The range of one of my units has been condemned for rapid practice and another range allocated nine miles distant. The new range is difficult of access and makes practice impossible. The General Officer commanding had a special direction that more time for instructional practice on open ranges should be given. The commanding officer app lied on April 25, with the approval 10 of the General Officer commanding, for permission to hold two or three week-end camps at the range, the first to be held on June 25. His object was to give instruction by companies before they were called upon to fire the standard test, by which means he considered he would be able to give a more satisfactory form of instruction. No sanction was received from the War Office.
§ There was a prolonged correspondence between the commanding officer, the General Officer commanding, the County Association, and the War Office, which I will not weary your Lordships by referring to. But finally, on June 18, the General Officer commanding wrote asking if the week-end camps were sanctioned. He received an answer stating that "No reply has been received from the War Office." On June 20 a telegram was sent by the County Association. On June 22 a reply was received from the War Office that no special grants were admissible for week-end camps, while on the same day a telegram was received from York to say that the camps were authorised. What I want to point out is the great difficulty thrown in our way. The War Office takes six weeks to consider whether sanction is to be given us, and then the commanding officer is only left two days to make the necessary arrangements. We know that transport and camp equipment are short, and the difficulty of the arrangements which a commanding officer has to make is considerable. He has, first, to warn the men. In this case there were 350 of them. What was the result? The commanding officer co Id only get tents in time by himself paying the difference between transport by passenger and goods -Lain. Many of the men only received notice on the morning of the day on which they had to attend, but their attendance was excellent. All the officers were present. There was an improvement in the markmanship, one company obtaining eighty per cent. of its full marks and another seventy-five per cent. Is it unreasonable, where you have commanding officers of units who are willing to take all this trouble and endeavour as far as they can to improve the units under their command, that we should ask that the War Office should give us reasonable time in which to make the necessary arrangements?
§ There is another little grievance. The question of dummy cartridges is a further 11 example of War Office methods. It is laid down in a syllabus on the training of recruits in the Territorial Force that many hours are to be devoted to the subject of loading with dummy cartridges. The General Officer commanding the North Midland Division was dissatisfied with our musketry standard. He pointed out that a great deal could be done off the range by preliminary training, and directed that the syllabus should be closely followed. In this training, of course, blank or ball cartridge cannot be used, and therefore it is very important that there should be a full supply of dummy cartridges. The first indent for these cartridges, asking for 3,000, was sent by the officer commanding on December 24, 1909. I think it was sent to York, so perhaps the War Office are not responsible. There was, however, no result. A second indent was forwarded on February 16 of this year, and again no result. On April 26 and on May 30 reminders were sent, and as a result 132 instead of the 3,000 cartridges were received on July 6—seven months after the first indent, and too late for the purpose for which they were intended as well as insufficient in quantity. Is it surprising, therefore, that the musketry returns are not better than they are?
I come to the general question of buildings. Here I would remind your Lordships of what fell from the Secretary of State for War on this subject. He first of all told us—and we were delighted to hear it—that it is a complete misconception to say that the War Office are held back by a stingy Treasury in providing headquarters. He went on to say that the Territorial Force was started with the idea that the nation was to pay for it. Mr. Haldane, however, said—
You must not expect luxuries. Thus I have turned a deaf ear to appeals to build large drill halls and provide swimming baths and recreation rooms on a large scale.
§ That statement suggests that we have been making unreasonable demands, and I should like to ask the noble Lord the Under-Secretary this definite question, How many bona fide applications have been made by County Associations for swimming baths to be provided out of public funds? As regards the Council of County Associations, we have had most of these questions before us and such a thing has never been hinted. This was one of the questions, in addition to those to which I have already 12 referred, which I sent round to the various Associations. I asked them to state the difficulties they had experienced on seven or eight specific points, and this question with regard to buildings was one of them. Collecting the answers given, the difficulties are general though there are exceptions, and one of the great difficulties is the delay there has been in getting sanction for buildings. I know myself of one or two excellent bargains which could have been made if we had only been able to get the approval of the War Office, and which would have saved the country considerable expense that was subsequently made necessary.
§ Here is one case. Tenders were submitted on February 4, and I believe they complied with all the conditions. The builder whose tender has been accepted wants his contract signed, but we cannot sign it because we have no sanction, and he tells us now that he must revise his estimate. The delay presses very hardly on builders generally, because there is no certainty that the work tendered for will be accepted. In one case I understand there is inability to get work contracted for at the War Office scale of cost. Let me give another instance in Staffordshire. When we started preparing for these buildings we had, in the first place, to provide for twelve centres, and the amount for the buildings was just under £40,000. That may seem a large sum, but we had no indication of any sort or kind of the classes of buildings we were expected to provide. We had to provide for new arms of which we had had no experience. We imagined that the Force was to be a permanent one, and that therefore the buildings to be provided ought to be permanent, substantial, and suitable. The only guide we had was the old Volunteer drill-rooms. In the first place we had to satisfy the General with regard to the military capabilities of our respective drill-halls. We met him on several occasions and modified our views to suit him, and eventually our scheme went up with his approval. The date that had been given us to send in the scheme by was November, 1908, and by working at high pressure we were able to forward our scheme by that time. Nine out of ten of these applications were refused, mainly on the ground that the conditions had not been complied with. Will your Lordships believe that the conditions with which we had to comply were not issued until 13 after the date that had been fixed for the scheme to go in! We lost over that a sum of £354, and many other Associations have lost money in a similar way, one to the extent of £600. There is one thing we have been told about the territorial scheme of the Government more than another—namely, the amount of deep thinking that took place before it was introduced. I can assure the noble Lord the Under-Secretary that a good deal of thinking has taken place since it was introduced, and where that thought has found expression in words they have been very often words hardly suitable for reproduction in your Lordships' House.
§ There is, as I have said, no consideration of local peculiarities. We have to provide the same class of buildings whether in town or in country. The old Volunteer officer knew perfectly well what he was about. He endeavoured to make his drill-hall and his headquarters suitable and attractive in order to encourage recruits. He found that in town districts these headquarters had to meet the competition of other institutions, and what is very obvious is that, if we are to make our drill-halls sufficiently attractive to induce recruits to join, that particular point must be taken into consideration. We have today at our Council passed a resolution with regard to buildings which will shortly come before the Army Council. We take exception to the principle adopted by the War Office of instituting a standard size for all headquarters of similar units, regardless of the locality in which they are to be erected. The surrounding buildings with which they are brought into competition, such as working-men's clubs, should determine the class of buildings to be erected, and if the headquarters which the War Office sanction fail to attract recruits, they must always remain dear as territorial buildings however economically they may have been constructed. We also call attention in our resolution to the fact that it would make for smoother working on both sides if the War Office were to place more confidence in the recommendations of the County Associations. Members of the County Associations, more particularly those who are called upon to act on territorial buildings, are often accustomed to deal with much larger operations than those concerned. They are men usually selected for that purpose, and they do resent recommendations which they put forward being 14 deemed excessive or extravagant by those who have little or no knowledge of the local conditions which prompted them.
§ I understand that the Secretary of State for War is willing by-and-by to meet representatives of the County Associations in order to discuss the whole question of finance. I shall not, therefore, go into that at any length. But there are one or two other matters on which questions were asked, and to which I have received replies from a good many Associations concerned. There is one County Association—and I think I ought to make a special point of this—who hold the opinion that on one point the War Office have not been unreasonable. I think it is only fair to say that, because it affords a green oasis in an otherwise arid desert of general dissatisfaction. Every Association that has sent an answer has expressed the opinion that the amount allowed for upkeep of ranges is totally inadequate. The butts are not included as buildings. Technically, they are not; but the upkeep of the butts is a great expense, and we find now that rapid firing is destructive to butts. On the question of horse hire during the non-training period there is also a unanimous opinion. I need only quote one case, which I think was in Buckinghamshire. The grant allowed is £50. By the regulations you have to give your recruits twenty days training, before they go into camp. In this particular case there were 100 mounted recruits who had to receive this training. Therefore, these 100 riders before they went into camp had to be given 2,000 rides, which at the Army rate of remuneration would only mean sixpence an hour a ride for each horse.
§ The Secretary of State for War, speaking the other day, entreated to be allowed to do one thing at a time. I think our task is sufficiently difficult without additions, and we, too, would be glad to be allowed to do one thing at a time. We are called upon to raise voluntary aid detachments. We had a discussion over that particular point, and, as your Lordships are aware, owing to a little trouble in regard to the original proposal contained in the scheme we are now at a standstill. The view was very strongly expressed the other day that a solution of this difficulty should be found as quickly as possible. There is one other point with regard to being allowed to do one thing at a time. I refer to the question of the Veteran Reserve. The 15 Times Military Correspondent, in praising it—and I should be the last to say a word against it—described the chain of the Territorial Force, beginning with the Boy Scouts, going on with the Cadet Corps, then the main body of the Territorial Force, and then the Territorial Reserve. As far as the Territorial Reserve is concerned, I think, if it is properly financed, it will be a valuable adjunct to the Territorial Force itself, and may be perfectly well worked in conjunction. As to the Veteran Reserve, The Times Correspondent seems to think the matter a very simple one, and he singles out the Lord-Lieutenant as the proper person to be appointed president. He maps out the duties, which are to appoint committees in the various districts and chief towns in every county. He probably does not realise the enormous number of these committees. We have committees already in the various districts alt over the county, and in the course of time if this sort of thing goes on we shall exhaust all those who are willing to help us; and I press that we should be allowed to complete our Territorial Force before we are called upon to perform these extra duties.
§ I want to say a word about the County Associations themselves. I repeat that we have no desire whatever to interfere with the military side, but I ask you to consider the character of the men who compose the County Associations. They are the most representative men we can get. They have exceptional experience. Look at the work done. We have had many meetings. I suppose most of the County Associations have met something like 120 times since the commencement of their labours, and that does not anything like represent the amount of work they have done. It is not merely the meetings, but the labour of inspecting sites and of seeing how things are going on which add very greatly to the difficulties of the work which is done by the County Associations. What we are feeling to-day is that we have little or no power to act. We feel that our opinions are treated with indifference, and that much of the work that is done is useless. Is it possible in those circumstances that there can be any other feeling than one of discontent and dissatisfaction? I call attention to this fact particularly to-day because I feel that if this Force is to be a success there must he a better system of arrangement between the County Associations and the War Office. Resolutions 16 have already been passed in some Associations, which would probably be increased in number, expressing the views that I have put forward. And then consider who we are. We are all of us men who pay our full share of Imperial taxes, and is it likely that we should ask unnecessarily for those taxes to he increased? What we are asking for is not for ourselves but what we really honestly believe to be necessary to make your scheme a success.
§ I would ask you for one moment to compare the difference of administration under the War Office and under other Departments. A return was issued the other day which showed that the number of extra officials who have been called into being by reason of the legislation of the present Government was over 1,150, of whom more than half were permanent, at salaries amounting to well over £130,000 a year. Consider for one moment what would have been the cost to the country if your territorial scheme had been run on those lines. You have been fortunate in having all this work done for nothing, and I do think there ought to be some recognition and some consideration of that fact. There is one important point in connection with the County Associations and the feeling that is gradually rising in connection with the attitude some of them take. A very large number, possibly the majority of them, are in favour of universal compulsory service, and the reason they have accepted office is that they realise that this scheme is the only official scheme before the country. Above all, they recognise that it is quite possible to extend on the foundation you have laid in any direction, and it is because I feel that there is a danger of losing that foundation that I have ventured to speak at such length this evening.
§ In conclusion let me say this. There are two ways of raising an Army. You can raise it by compulsion or by voluntary effort; but if you decide to trust to voluntary effort you must make the conditions of service such as will attract the men to your Force, and our object has been to help you as far as we can to carry that out. Your primary object, I imagine, is the raising of a Force sufficient and efficient, and if the question was to be asked to-day whether the Territorial Army fulfilled the purpose for which it was created, I think he would be a bold man who would answer 17 in the affirmative. At the same time we do not forget that the time has been short. But what the country wants to know is, Will the Territorial Force ever fulfil the purposes for which it was created? We want an expert who will take the trouble to find out for himself what are the real facts of the case; we want somebody who will not ignore what is good in the Force, and who will not exaggerate what is bad. But, as I say, what the country wants to know, what, I think, we all want to know, is whether we are ever likely to be worth the money that is being paid for us.
§ LORD WILLOUGHBY DE BROKE
My Lords, I do not desire to intervene for very long in this discussion, but it seems to me that the noble Earl who has just sat down has disclosed a very serious state of things with regard to the Territorial Force. I have no wish to find fault with the Territorial Army. It is a perfectly easy thing to do. I myself have been a member of the Auxiliary Forces for a great number of years, I believe ever since I first went to school. But what I wish to submit with great respect to the War Office is this. I am fortified in the opinion that even if every single thing which the noble Earl who has just sat down wanted from the War Office were to be given to him to-morrow morning, you still would riot have an Army which fulfilled the proper conditions of an Army for home defence.
I dare say noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite will hear with the most profound equanimity that I have been obliged to resign my commission in the Yeomanry; but I have done this simply because, having so many things to do, I could not conscientiously give the time that one ought to give in order to train one's men sufficiently between the trainings to make them efficient and to know them and get the best value out of them for efficient military purposes. There are two considerations which must be kept to the front when we are talking about the Territorial Army. One is that you must have a Force which is sufficient to liberate your Expeditionary Force at the commencement of hostilities, and you have been told by General after General, and expert after expert, and officer after officer on the Norfolk Commission that you cannot get a Force of that kind in this country unless you resort to some form of compulsory training.
18 We have heard a good deal about the Territorial Force in this House lately. The figures which the Duke of Bedford brought forward the other day, which were admitted by the noble Lord opposite, are very alarming indeed to anybody who studies the safety of his country. We know that the shooting test is not a very satisfactory one, and that a great many officers and a great many men have not passed it. I have the figures here, but I will not weary the House by going through them again. But what I do ask the noble Lord the Under-Secretary to consider most earnestly is the way in which you are going to horse your Territorial Cavalry at the outbreak of hostilities. I do not know whether there is any belief to be given to the theory of transmigration of souls, but if there is I certainly hope that my being in the next state will not be that of an Army remount horse, because if you are turned into an Army remount horse there will be four people riding you at the same moment when war breaks out. There is one point which I think has escaped attention lately, and that is that it is proposed, as I understand, although you have not got the number of men that you think you ought to have, to further deplete your Force by asking some of the men to signify their intention to serve abroad, if necessary; so that you propose to further draw on the already rather attenuated Territorial Force you already have for purposes for which they did not enlist in the first instance.
But the principal point is that, on your own showing, the serious training that you are going to give to the Territorial Force is not proposed to take place until after the war breaks out. The Territorial Force has two extraordinary advantages. It has, in the first place, the very strenuous advocacy of Mr. Haldane, and I do venture to say that if Mr. Haldane had only put one quarter of the perseverance into showing the nation the advantages of universal military training which he has put into concealing the defects of the Territorial Army, we, should have had compulsory military training in this country long ago. There are two statements which he recently made which are of a dangerous and misleading character. He is reported in The Times of May 30 to have said at Guildford—If the country decided that it would raise the Territorial Force from 300,000 to 500,000, he had not the least doubt, from what he had seen that day and on other occasions, that by providing the requisite machinery it was quite easy to accomplish this on a voluntary basis.19 The Secretary of State says he can get 500,000 men. According to his own statement he only wants 315,000, but he has only got 280,000. I do think that for a Minister in the position of Mr. Haldane to make these statements is very misleading to those who think the defence of the country is being properly undertaken by the War Office.
Then Mr. Haldane made a statement in the House of Commons on June 26 in which he led the House and the nation to believe that the small army of Great Britain of an expeditionary character is larger than the expeditionary armies of France and Germany put together. I really do think that when you have advocacy of the Territorial Army by a War Minister who is able to make those kind of statements it does require very searching criticism and constant questions in this House to put that to the test. The Territorial Force has another great advantage, that it gives the extremely tempting opportunity for the exercise of vicarious patriotism by the very large percentage of the population who do not belong to the Territorial Army but rely upon other people to do their duty for them. I thank your Lordships for the kind way in which you have listened to my small interpolation, and I trust that the noble Lord opposite will give his attention to the matters I have mentioned.
LORD ZOUCHE OF HARYNGWORTH
My Lords, I should like to endorse what fell from the noble Earl who brought forward this question on the subject—I rather wish he had dwelt a few minutes longer upon it—of the Permanent Staff of the Territorial Army, more especially relating to those valuable men, the sergeant-instructors. It is one of the great difficulties in country battalions, especially where there are very scattered units, to provide a proper amount of instruction owing to the shortage of these valuable non-commissioned officers. It is all very well in a town where everybody is concentrated, but in the country it is quite a different thing. In country places the various companies are always scattered about. I have in mind one company that covered a district something like twenty miles from one end to the other, where it was extremely difficult to get the men properly trained.
There was an idea at one time of reducing the number of sergeant-instructors. I hope 20 that if such an idea was ever entertained at the War Office it has been given up, and I strongly urge that the question of a possible increase in the number of these men should be taken into serious consideration. In fact, I go further. I would like to see the Territorial Force much more in touch with the Regulars, because they ought to be looked upon as an auxiliary force to the Regular Army much more than they are now. I should like to see battalions of the Territorial Force commanded, wherever possible, by Regular officers, perhaps those on the retired list. It is a thing that would require to be done with a great deal of elasticity and a great deal of thought and care, but I do not think it would be an impossible thing to do. There are many men who leave the Army for various reasons, perhaps being superannuated, when they are really not much past the prime of life, and full of vigour and zeal. Very often the services of these men are lost when they might be made use of, so long as the thing were done with tact and consideration.
Then I should like to say one word about the great difficulty there is in giving facilities to men to travel to drills, more especially in the scattered districts to which I have alluded. This is a great and serious difficulty, and tells very much against the proper efficiency of the Force. It is not a question of men not having sufficient vigour or energy to go a few miles to their drill. It is that they cannot spare the time. A man might spare time to go for an hour's drill fairly often, which perhaps would take altogether two hours getting there and home and changing into his uniform and so on, but if it is going to take three or four hours the thing cannot be done. In consequence men drop out of regular attendance at drill when they would wish to qualify and make themselves efficient. This is admitted on all sides by those who thoroughly understand this question, which is much more a country one than a town one. I should like to urge upon the attention of His Majesty's Government that the sergeant-instructor question really goes to the root of the efficiency of this great and important Force.
I would add one word with regard to annual camps. These have been started some years now, I think with very happy results. The men attend them, and they are popular. There, again, I think the 21 very short time at the disposal of the authorities is sometimes a little wasted. Rather elaborate tactical schemes are given to be worked out by officers w ho have not had the advantage of military training; they do not quite know how to do them. Problems are set in the advanced forms of soldiery, and it is rather a case of these officers being set to make bricks without straw. This difficulty might be got over if there could be appointed to the various camps while they are in training two or three Regular officers from the. nearest military depôt. I am glad to hear—I do not know whether I am correctly informed—that in a camp which is to be held before many weeks at Newhaven, and which I shall have the honour of joining, that plan is going to be set on foot, and that two or three officers are to be attached for the purpose of giving instruction and not merely confining their services to criticism. I do not think it is a very difficult thing do, because camps do not take place always at the same time in the year. There would not be more than a day or two's work at a time, and a Regular officer detached for this purpose might easily get back to his quarters after his work is done.
There is all the difference in the world between the instruction of semi-trained troops by an expert and an amateur, and I suggest that Regular officers of considerable experience, as I have no doubt they would be, when field days are undertaken in camp should accompany the Force—preferably they should be mounted—and should go with the company officers, giving instructions and hints and showing how these complicated manœuvres which have to be worked out ought to be done. Territorial officers, who are many of them men of great ability, would profit in this way more from two, three, or six hours instruction from an expert than they would from a year of instruction by their own unaided efforts or by amateur soldiers. I do not wish to occupy your Lordships' time by any further remarks on this important question. I thought I would take the opportunity of putting forward one or two practical suggestions that have occurred to me after several years service in this Force, and I venture to hope that His Majesty's Government may take them into their favourable consideration.
§ LORD HAVERSHAM
My Lords, I venture to intrude on your attention 22 for a few moments, because I happen to be Chairman of a Territorial Association in the South of England—Berks—which has been fortunate enough to find the whole of the troops, Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry, which we were required to find. These troops are about to receive their reward by being included in the manœuvres of the Regular troops which take place next September, when I believe 10,000 men of the South Midland Brigade will be brigaded with 70,000 men in the South of England and will go through the whole of that time on service conditions. I cannot conceive anything more useful for the Territorial Force than such practice as that, and I think it ought to be made the reward for exertions made in the counties.
I am sure everyone who is interested in the success of the Territorial Army, will have heard with the greatest possible pleasure, that the Secretary of State for War has been able to increase the grant to the Territorial Force by no less a sum than £355,000 this year. The whole increase in the Army Estimates is £325,000. Therefore the amount given to the Territorial Force is £30,000 more than the total increase in the Army Estimates. We had last year £2,277,000; this year it is raised to £2,632,000. There is another subject of congratulation, and that is that the larger part of this grant, very nearly the whole of it, is to be spent in making up those lapses, which the Duke of Bedford, in his able and interesting speech the other day, pointed out—namely, in providing ranges which will enable all the officers and men to attend at the targets. I hear from the noble Lord the Under-Secretary that there is no less a sum than £200,000 being spent on providing a range at Furl-feet. Those of us who have commanded London corps know what a great difficulty the range question is. The whole of the Essex corps as well as the London corps will have access to this very large range, and that fills up an important gap.
But that is by no means all. I think £35,000 is the stun at which cost the Birmingham range has been opened, and there is, in addition to that, £11,000 being spent in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and £20,000 in Lancashire, as well as a considerable sum in Northumberland. Therefore, we see that more than a quarter of a million has been devoted to finding 23 ranges for the Territorial Force. In my own county we have no such difficulty. We have an excellent range on the Berkshire Downs and we have a smaller range at Runnymede, near the Thames, and another at Abingdon, so that we do not suffer in this respect. But there is one hiatus which I am sure my noble friend below me will have to look after very soon. There are certainly not sufficient ranges for the Artillery. Sir John French said the other day that the only chance for the Territorial Artillery would be to take the Regular ranges when they were not required. That is, of course, coming in very much second best; but it is a very difficult question, and as the Secretary of State was bound to spend a large sum on ranges for the Infantry, he has clone better in taking that first, and looking after the Artillery ranges later.
The second very satisfactory point in the past year has been the enormous increase in the Territorial Force itself. I do not know whether noble Lords have turned to that point, but they will find that from October, 1908, to October, 1909, there has been an increase of no fewer than 72,000 men. I call that a very substantial increase in a single year. A still more satisfactory feature than that is the fact that out of the whole Territorial Force no fewer than 248,000 men attended camp for a certain time, and of that number more than two-thirds attended for the fifteen days. The figures are: 169,900 attended for fifteen days and over, and 78,326 attended for more than eight but under fifteen days. Those who know the importance of attending camp will congratulate themselves that such a large number of these men discharged this portion of their duty. My noble friend who introduced this subject to your Lordships' notice to-night himself visited the camps, and he said, in a speech which I read the other day—A visit to the training camps, and experience of the energy with which the men throw themselves into the work, would remove all erroneous ideas of the training of the Force.I think that is exceedingly satisfactory. I should like, if I may be allowed to do so, to mention the numbers that have been found in my own county. We had to find 28 officers and 989 non-commissioned officers and men of the Infantry. We have found 25 officers and every single one of the rank and file, so that recruiting has actually been stopped. In the 24 Yeomanry we had to find 24 officers and 422 men. We have every single one of the officers and men. We had to find 7 officers and 214 men for the Royal Horse Artillery Batter. We have found 7 officers and 206 of the rank and file. Therefore we have only got 8 short in the whole county.
I should like to say one or two words about the Officers Training Corps, because that has shown a most remarkable vitality although it has only been two years in existence, and no doubt it will find an immense number of officers both for the Territorial Army and for the Regulars. It was in June, 1908, that the existing Volunteer and cadet corps of the Universities and public schools were converted into officers training corps, formed of the senior division which belongs to the Universities and the junior division which belongs to the schools. There are at this moment 145 of the junior contingents and sixteen of the senior. To the, senior, adjutants are appointed, and very great advantages are given to an officer who passes through, is drilled for four years, and obtains the two certificates. He then is excused the examination for promotion, and gets £35 for an outfit. I am glad to know that only the other day a contingent from Oxford, over 700 strong, went through fourteen days training at Aldershot under General Sir H. L. Smith-Dorrien; 100 of them were Cavalry, and they performed night attacks and the whole of the duties with the Regular troops with the greatest success. We must look to the old '? Universities for a large supply of coming officers, but I rejoice to think that there are 145 of these contingents already formed in connection with the schools of this country. There are one or two grievances which I regret the War Office have not seen fit to remove. I hope they will remove them after this debate. I can endorse every word which my noble friend who introduced this discussion said with regard to the question of travelling to drills. In agricultural districts that is a vital point. As Mr. Haldane said in his principles of training, you cannot expect a man who has very few holidays in the year, who perhaps has only a half-holiday on a Saturday, and who has been at work all the rest of the week, to change and put on his uniform and go three or four miles to do his training. You must bring the training to his door. What we want is the individual grant to the individual man 25 There is another point which has not been touched upon which is a sore one with most Associations, and that is the question of the secretary's salary. The War Office frankly admitted that they made a mistake at the start. They put the salary at £50, which is about the sum you would get a clerk for. They afterwards made it up to £75, but even for that sum you will not get a man to do the work, and I do hope the Secretary of State will carry out the promise that he gave in the House of Commons the other night, when he undertook to consider the salaries of the secretaries with a view to their increase. There is another aspect of this question. I think this matter is one which ought to be left to the Associations themselves. Surely if we are able to manage the Territorial Force in our own county we are fit to settle the question of the salary of our secretary. I think it is a great mistake to put this in the hands of the War Office. It would be better to leave it entirely to the Associations.
With regard to the whole Force, I should like to read to your Lordships two opinions which have lately been passed by two of the most distinguished General Officers we have amongst us. I think you will all agree that we cannot go wrong in believing what is said by General Smith-Dorrien, who is now in command of the troops at Aldershot, and by Sir John French, the Inspector-General. Speaking of the great improvement of the Territorial Force in organisation over the old Volunteers, General Sir H. L. Smith-Dorrien said—Formerly a Volunteer had no notion what rite he would fulfil on war breaking out. Rut now every man who joins the Territorial Army will feel that he is part of a machine for the defence of his country, and that without him the machine cannot be perfect. He will know that he belongs to a battalion, to a brigade, to a Division, which will meet every year for training with the object of learning how best to fulfil their rôle in the general scheme of defence. He will know that there are thirteen other Divisions each with a special task in war … each commanded and controlled in peace and war by the General Staff of the Regular Army, and with a Royal Artillery officer of the Regulars in charge of the Artillery of the Division.General Sir John French, whose inspection report I read last week, said—The result of the first inspection of a Territorial Division is in the highest degree satisfactory and encouraging. The important point to notice is the extreme keenness, the desire to make progress, and the zeal and energy displayed by all ranks.26 Again, in his observations on recruiting he said—I have reason to believe that both officers and men of the Territorial Army are generally of a suitable class. The strength of the units is quite satisfactory, and recruiting is proceeding briskly forward.It is with confidence that I submit the opinion of these General Officers on the Territorial Force, and I am sure I may be allowed to commend their views to your Lordships.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I intervene in this debate for a few moments, first of all with congratulations to the noble Lord the Under-Secretary on having behind him a supporter with such implicit confidence in his scheme, and, secondly, to the noble Lord himself in having got his full quota in his native county of Berkshire. In our part of the world we cannot pretend to have got so near perfection, but to raise 600 officers and 18.000 men is somewhat different from the numbers which he mentioned. It seems to me that any question dealing with the Territorial Force must be divided into two parts, both of which have been dealt with to-day, the first somewhat briefly and the second at length. The first is very important, and the second, if I may say so, is of minor importance.
The first is whether the country is getting value for its money, and whether we have at the present moment under this scheme an efficient force for the defence of the United Kingdom. The second is whether, granted that the scheme is a success, there are not minor defects which could be altered to make it even more efficient and work even more smoothly. With regard to the first, I do not pretend to be a military expert and I do not think your Lordships as a whole would lay down that you have a right to give a military definition of what our requirements are. But there is no doubt whatever that at the present moment very grave anxiety is being felt as to whether our Force in time of war would be sufficient to repel a raid, and the reason why this anxiety exists is not far to seek. Your Lordships will remember—it was when the Government of which I was a. member was in power—that a few years ago the Blue Water School prevailed to such an extent that it was questionable whether a dinghy's crew could be landed on our shores. That gradually went up to 10,000, 27 and it has now gone up to 70,000 men, which I believe is the recognised figure at which a raid can be put at the present moment. Whether that figure will grow is doubtful, but the number has made such rapid progress in the past that we may expect at any rate a slight increase in the future. Therefore you have to see whether your Force, as at present constituted, is capable of resisting an invading force which Neill certainly not be less and may be greater than 70,000.
For anybody in this House to lay down "Aye" or "Nay" would seem to me to be impossible. But the noble Lord can give us one answer, which, I think, would allay all possible anxiety. He can give us a paper signed by the whole of the Army Council to say that they consider the numbers of the Territorial Force sufficient and their training sufficient to make them efficient to resist such a raid as I have taken as being possible—namely, 70,000. I believe if you asked them that they would probably give that assurance, but they would couple with it a rider that these Territorials should previously have six months training. It seems to me that if you couple that rider you absolutely nullify your answer, and you satisfy the country, not as to your power to resist, but as to your powerlessness to resist any such invasion. Do you for one moment entertain the idea that any foreign country thinking of raiding our shores is going to give this six months notice that they intend to do so in order that you may make your troops efficient to meet them? I remember very well that just before the South African war when the Government of the day brought 10,000 troops—which, incidentally, saved the situation—from India, into Natal, the whole of the then Opposition was up in arms, saying that what the Government had done was provocative of war, and that the mere fact of introducing those troops was a justification for the Boers commencing the war. Do you not think the same thing would apply, and that if you embodied the whole of your Territorial Force avowedly for six months training to resist invasion any foreign nation thinking of making an invasion would look upon that as provocative and would refuse to give you the six months respite? Therefore I ask whether you will get from the Army Council an assurance to this House and to the country at large that they are satisfied 28 that at the present moment, without the six months training, the Force is sufficient and efficient for the needs of the country. That is a question that only military experts can answer, and I leave it in the hope that the noble Lord will see his way to grant my request.
Now with regard to the scheme generally. I am bound to say that, having cordially supported it and approved of it from the beginning, I equally approve and support it as a scheme at the present moment. I am perfectly certain of one thing, that whatever means you may employ to fill the ranks, whether voluntary or compulsory, the scheme as a scheme will hold the field, and that it will be on that organisation that you will have to apply your compulsory powers if you bring in at any time national service. I agree so cordially with much of what the noble Earl stated in introducing this subject that I hope he will pardon me for one difference of opinion. The noble Earl would wish to see troops springing up in all direction as the localities may require. With that I entirely disagree. I believe it was the failing of the old Volunteers that units sprang up in all directions without any consideration whatever to their organisation as a whole, and I do think that the present scheme has given us an enormous advantage in that it has asked certain localities to provide troops and has organised these troops in regular Brigades and Divisions. I hope that in no circumstances will my noble friend think of departing from the course now adopted.
With regard to our numbers, personally I have no doubt whatever that in my own part of the country—in Lancashire—we shall be able to keep up our numbers. As far as I can see, there is no falling off in the numbers that are coming in, and certainly—and this is undoubted—the quality of the men is better than it used to be. But you will have to meet employers even more than you do. I recognise the great desirability of taking men away to camp at a certain time of the year and taking them as Brigades or as Divisions, but it is very difficult for many employers who want to give as many of their men a chance of entering the Territorial Army as possible to let all these men go away at once, and I think you will have to consider whether divisional training ought not to give way a great deal more to brigade train- 29 ing, and whether you will not start more camps for men to go to who can put in a fortnight at a time when their unit is not actually called out for training.
As to the various points that the noble Earl brought forward, one cannot help feeling one thing, and that is that almost every point he mentioned requires money. I myself have asked, on behalf of our Association, for a certain amount of money, but I feel that the Territorial Force has no right to press unduly for money if that money is to come off the needs of the Regular Army. The Regular Army must come first, and if we cannot get the money we require then all we ask you to do is to make your requirements from us somewhat less.
The inner history of Grant A, which is really where the shortcoming is, is personally interesting to myself. I went up to the War Office with the Chairman of the East Lancashire Division and Lord Esher, and we went carefully through the proposed Grant A, which had then be issued, with the noble Lord and with Mr. Haldane. We were able to take item by item, with the result that even on the requirements that the War Office themselves put down for our expenditure, we ended up with a minus quantity. It was then settled to raise the amount, and at a later date a considerable addition was made to it. I have little doubt that if that amount had been given, and none of the extra expenditures that have been put upon us had been tacked on to it, the original amount would have been at all events very nearly sufficient to have met our requirements. As it is we cannot possibly manage on the amount under Grant A that is given to us if we are to carry out all the requirements of the War Office. I am perfectly willing to justify any of the accounts of the Association of which I have the honour to be the Chairman. I am sure there is not a single penny that has been expended that has not been spent with a view of securing increased efficiency for the Force. I quite agree that if you come to picking the actual amounts to pieces you may say "Why have bands? Why have prizes for shooting? They are luxuries." But I venture to think that there is nobody in this House who knows anything whatever with regard to a territorial force who would not agree that bands and prizes for shooting are not 30 a luxury, but an absolute necessity if we are to keep the Force together at all.
The noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, has put forward many points where irritation has been caused by the action of the War Office. I hope that the noble Lord the Under-Secretary will not think any of these points are put forward by way of condemnation because they are critical; they are simply meant to show the noble Lord that there are difficulties which the War Office do not seem to thoroughly appreciate. I have the honour to belong to the Advisory Committee which the Secretary of State for. War called together. We have had three meetings. I am bound to say I only attended, I think, one. At the end we arrived at no definite conclusion on any single point, except that we had put before Mr. Haldane, as he said, plenty for reflection. But the Advisory Committee that was called together, if you made more use of it, I think would be able not only to show you several places where the shoe pinches, but it would also have prevented you from issuing certain documents which you had to withdraw and which it would have been very advisable if you never had issued.
The noble Earl quoted various causes for the irritation. Let me give one example, with regard to buildings, that happened in my own case. We were asked to give to the War Office an account of what buildings were required for our force. To do this required a great deal of work, and under ordinary circumstances a great deal of expenditure, by a surveyor, but we were lucky enough to secure the assistance of a surveyor who gave his services gratis. This is what happened. He reported on the various headquarters which were in bad condition. Tenders in a lump sum were obtained from contractors. These were forwarded to the Brigadier-General in charge of the administration and were returned with a request for tenders in detail, asking that particulars should be affixed to every item in the specification. Firms tendering were requested to do this and they did it, and their tenders in detail were again forwarded to the Brigadier-General. Most of them were returned with a request that the items should be differently grouped so that new work should be separated front repairs. Anyone who knows anything at all about buildings knows that it is almost impossible 31 to separate work which is new from that which is old, but as far as was possible this was done, and the tenders were then apparently forwarded by the Brigadier-General with a report to the War Office, and the decision of the War Office has now come in. As a rule a lump sum has been granted, but in most cases not the amount that was asked for, but rather less. Although we have sent up in detail the full specification, we are not told in what way we have exceeded our legitimate rights, but are simply told that whereas we have asked for, we will say £550, we can only have £500. That means going to the contractor for the fourth time and saying, "How much of this work can you do for the amount the War Office allows?" I think the noble Lord will see that a great deal of this irritation might have been obviated if the War Office had treated the matter in a rather different way.
Then there is another point, really rather a curious one, with regard to this. At the present moment, to secure our one per cent. for upkeep of buildings, as noble Lords know, we have to get a certificate from the commanding officer of the regiment to say that his buildings are in proper repair. A commanding officer we will say finds that his battalion requires the £550 I have already mentioned. The Association entirely agrees with him that that £550 is necessary. The War Office disagrees, and only gives £500. The commanding officer thereupon declines to sign the certificate, upon which the War Office refuses to give us the one per cent. The Association is then in this position, that the War Office declining to sanction the demand of the unit and of the Association is also in a position to deny to the Association any grant whatever for the upkeep of the building. Surely that is a position that the noble Lord, with the most fervid desire for economy, would not wish to maintain.
With regard to railway journeys, I am bound to say, in all fairness to the War Office, that I do think they must be dealt with specially in various cases. It would never do in our part of the world, where communication is so easy by tram and where railway facilities are so great, to pay the men every time they came to drill. It would simply mean an enormous expense, and an unnecessary one. Even in Lancashire we have some country districts, and there undoubtedly we do 32 want some assistance in bringing the men to headquarters; but in a matter like this I would say respectfully that I do not think we ought, in pressing our claim on the War Office, to assume that the charge should be made a general one. There are many other points—boots, for example, one that affects our financial position very much; and the money for going into camp. I always dislike giving details gathered from one's old associations, but it is the only way sometimes of showing one's point. There is no doubt that for the efficiency of a Division it is better to send it all into camp on some really good camping ground. On the other hand, if we do that in Lancashire we do it at a loss. We can send the men to the Isle of Man where there is no real ground for manœuvring purposes and make a handsome profit, because we are able to send them by sea which is a much cheaper mode of transport. Surely the War Office ought in such cases as this to pay us, not a fixed sum down, but the actual amount out of pocket that is shown by the railway warrants. There cannot be any question then of the Association attempting to make money out of the War Office, and at the same time it would prevent a lot of the heart burning that there is at the present moment. Another small point is the question of equipment. In the first instance in many cases leather equipment was purchased which had no knapsacks. Now the approved type is the webbing equipment which has a knapsack, and we want to know which is the right one to have. If you have no knapsack, then you must have some means for carrying the men's clothes and goods, and a battalion going into camp with Regular troops would be undoubtedly at a great disadvantage unless they had the more modern webbing equipment.
I do not wish to detain the House for a minute longer. I only want to ask, first; that we should get the assurance with regard to the military opinion of the Force as a whole at the present moment; and, secondly, to support my noble friend in the many small points which together make such a large grievance. I certainly shall not, and I hope this House as a whole will not, rush into a general condemnation of the scheme because of these somewhat minor points. Condemn it if you like if it is not efficient, but do not condemn it because the shoe pinches here and there. We hope after this debate that the noble 33 Lord will be able to meet some of these grievances. We can hope, too, that we may have some assurance from the military authorities; and, if so, I have not the slightest doubt that those members of your Lordships' House who have done their best to secure the efficiency of the. Force will do the same in the future, and feel that their efforts during the past three years have not been in vain.
My Lords, in adding some words of mine to this debate I do not wish to detain your Lordships more than a few moments. What I wish to say is in particular reference to the prospects of the Territorial Horse and Field Artillery, of which subject I may claim to have a little knowledge. Two years ago I endeavoured to show your Lordships the weak points in the scheme of His Majesty's Government with regard to the training of, firstly, the officers, and, secondly, the specialists. By the latter I mean that large percentage of noncommissioned officers and men who have to be trained in particular duties and require far more technical instruction than the average Yeomen or Territorial Infantryman. I do not intend to go into the question of the supply of horses on mobilisation. I know that that matter has had the attention of His Majesty's Government, not only of the Secretary of State for. War, who is more directly concerned, but also of the President of the Board of Agriculture, who by instituting a scheme for the improvement of the breeding of light horses is assisting indirectly to ameliorate conditions in the future.
But, my Lords, I am of opinion that during peace time some horses are required to be found for the Territorial batteries. When the Territorial batteries were first launched, I think the Wiltshire battery instituted a scheme, and funds were found to provide a few horses on which the drivers and non-commissioned officers were enabled to learn driving and riding. It was at once realised that one of the chief difficulties to be overcome would be the training of the drivers. Every County Association, of course, realised this, and believe various schemes have been instituted in different counties to provide for the difficulty. But the Army Council have not realised the importance of this matter, and have not assisted the County Association sufficiently. What happens 34 now? In the great majority of cases when a Territorial battery goes out to camp for its annual training, a great deal of its time is wasted in what is known to Artillery officers as driving drill. Instead of being able to launch at once into mounted drills and manœuvres, the battery is obliged to carry out this driving drill to enable it to move at all. County Associations at present have great difficulty in finding funds to provide for horses, and some steps should be taken to assist them. The drivers themselves are ready and anxious to give up their spare time to make themselves efficient, and until they are efficient and you give them these facilities for making themselves so, only those batteries who are fortunate enough to enlist the services of old Artillery drivers will be able, so far as their mobility is concerned, to render themselves efficient on the conclusion of those short six months of mobilisation when they are supposed to be ready to meet a foreign foe.
Let me turn for a moment to the training of a gunner. As I think I told your Lordships on a previous occasion, more than fifty per cent. of the men in a battery are required to be trained in particular duties, and few if any of these men two years ago had ever seen the instruments the detail and handling of which they had to master. Let me make a comparison. As a Yeomanry officer I know how difficult it is to train a man in signalling and other special duties. Yet 'most recruit Yeomen when they join are partially trained to their work to this extent that they are nearly all, in fact all of them, capable riders. In a Regular Horse and Field Artillery battery every non-commissioned officer is a capable instructor; yet in these Territorial batteries, not only every gunner, but every non-commissioned officer also, requires instruction, and there are only two Permanent Staff sergeants capable of imparting the necessary instruction to the 140 non-commissioned officers and men of the battery. I would ask your Lordships to notice a further point. The pay of these permanent instructors when they are drafted from the Regular Army and join the Territorial batteries is reduced in the case of Horse Artillery from 4s. 4d. to 3s. 9d., and in the case of Field Artillery from 3s. 4d. to 3s. 2d. I think your Lordships will agree that this is hardly calculated to attract the best instructors. The Secretary of State for 35 War in another place, in the debate on the Army Estimates, said that the reports of the Territorial Army showed that they were making marvellous progress. My Lords, under these conditions of the paucity of instructors I think the progress of these batteries may well be considered marvellous.
Lastly I come to the officers. I hope your Lordships will not think that I wish to depreciate in the slightest degree the efforts of those gentlemen who have come forward and been engaged during the last two years in picking up all they could of a subject of which they previously had no experience whatever. I desire your Lordships to realise that those officers, who under normal conditions have been instructing the men placed under them, have had to learn just as much as the men themselves. A visit to a Territorial camp where a Territorial battery will be seen carrying out its practice will demonstrate this better than any words of mine. I have studied the Army List, and I find that out of twelve Territorial Horse batteries only one—the Berkshire Horse Artillery battery—is fortunate enough to be commanded by an ex-gunner officer, and this battery is particularly fortunate in having a captain who is an ex-gunner officer also. So that two out of the five officers of the battery are what I might call old hands at the game. It would be very interesting to compare the progress of this battery with others not in such a fortunate position. Of the, roughly, 150 batteries of Territorial Field Artillery, only three are commanded by retired R.A. officers. It is true there are others who have served in other branches of the Army, but these have had little or no experience of Artillery until two years ago. So far as I can discover, there are only nine retired Artillery officers serving in the whole of the Territorial Horse and Field Artillery. In the Territorial Force Regulations, 1908, it is laid down that before promotion to the rank of major, Artillery officers have to attend at a Regular practice camp for fourteen days.
I had put a Notice on the Paper for to-day, and through the kindness of the Under-Secretary for War the answer has been given to me privately. I find from the answer that practically only one-third of the majors commanding Territorial Artillery have qualified for promotion under those regulations. Another ques- 36 tion I asked was whether any qualification was required or certificate of proficiency. The reply to that question is in the affirmative, but I am anxious to hear a little further from the noble Lord with regard to it. But these officers when they attend the practice camp of the Regular Artillery cannot, of course, take charge of batteries. All they can do is to observe the practice, take a few lessons and observations in firing, and, having done that, they are presumed to be fit to take command of their batteries in action and instruct the officers and men placed under them. I would ask your Lordships to compare this kind of training with what is undergone by a second-lieutenant of the Royal Artillery. He joins after two years at the Royal Military Academy, and he is put in charge of only a portion of a Regular battery, where he has the additional advantage of further instruction and advice by the senior officers. Or compare it even with the training of the major commanding one of the batteries of the Honourable Artillery Company who has risen to his position from the very lowest rank in the battery. It is curious to note that in the case of the Territorial Horse Artillery the inexperience of the commanders was apparently foreseen, for each of the Horse Artillery batteries has an adjutant attached to it apparently to dry-nurse it, though I understand on mobilisation this adjutant is removed. There are many Field batteries that are similarly situated to the Horse Artillery batteries, and that are unable to receive the personal instruction and advice of their colonels and adjutants except on very occasional visits. It is, I suppose, too much to hope that His Majesty's Government will place retired Regular Artillery officers in command of all Territorial Brigades and batteries. Had such a step been taken when they were first formed, I am confident that the War Office would have had far more favourable reports now, and I am suggesting to the noble Lord the Under-Secretary for War that even at this stage the provision of more instructors, both officers and men, would well repay the cost incurred.
Last year some of the batteries, I think it was some of the London batteries, were subjected to treatment which is almost inconceivable. They were undergoing their annual training on Salisbury Plain. They apparently could not fire their guns 37 there, so what happened was this. They left Salisbury Camp three batteries at a time on the evening of one day. They spent the whole of that night in the train; they arrived at Okehampton the next morning, took over horses, and, I believe, guns which were not their own, shot that day on the ranges, stayed that night in camp, shot the next day and spent that night in the train going back to Salisbury Plain, a ad then I suppose they arrived in the morning ready to go out on a field day. It was a very fine performance on their part, and they deserve the greatest credit for the patience they exhibited after having endured such inconvenience and discomfort. The whole of the practice of these batteries was carried out in a very hurried and haphazard way, and, with such disadvantages, not half the instruction was gained that should have been gained. This state of affairs will continue until more Artillery ranges are provided.
I will not detain your Lordships longer. I have endeavoured to show how His Majesty's Government, in their efforts, I suppose, to place the cost of the Territorial Army in a more favourable light than was the case in the old order of affairs, are starving that Force of Artillery by the lack of instructors and facilities for training. I ant confident that if they had shown more anxiety over the rearing of this particular plant of theirs the results and the reports of its progress would have been far more satisfactory.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
My Lords, I do not wish to stand for more than a minute or two between you and the speech which we are expecting from the noble Lord opposite, but there are two or three points which I wish to draw attention to, and I hope he will to give a satisfactory reply to them when he rises. The first is the question of the pay and position of the adjutants and the Permanent Staff sergeants. I believe in the Army Estimates £22,000 extra is taken for them. It is very desirable that as soon as possible an announcement should be made upon the subject, for both adjutants and the Permanent Staff sergeants complain that they are in a worse position with the Territorials than they are with their own regiments; and things have gone so far that I know in some cases, at any rate, the Permanent Staff sergeants had to be ordered away from their Regular battalions to take 38 duty with the Territorials instead of being willing to volunteer for it. Considering how very much depends on these men, it is most undesirable that they should think they have any grievances, and still more undesirable that they should be compelled to take on a duty which is in any way distasteful to them.
The other point to which I wish to call attention is with regard to an allowance for travelling to drills. I think the noble Earl, Lord Derby, was probably right in saying that it was not desirable to give an allowance to every man who came to a drill, but unless some concessions are made, and larger concessions than have been indicated hitherto by the War Office, it will be very difficult indeed for Associations in rural counties to get the numbers that are required for the establishment. In my own county we have nearly 400 parishes with a population less than 1,000. Accepting the basis of one per cent. of the population, which, roughly, is the number required for the Territorial Force throughout the country, that means we have nearly 400 parishes in which the numbers who may fairly be expected to join would not be sufficient to justify the provision of a drill station, and unless some concession is made a very large and valuable recruiting ground must of necessity be left uncultivated and unworked. I do hope that the noble Lord will be able to give us some assurance on that point, and also that the War Office will be more generous than they have been hitherto in the matter of allowances to officers for attending drills. Where you have scattered companies and scattered units, if you are to get the men trained and get the officers to know them, they must make a number of journeys for the purpose, and it is rather hard upon them that they should always be required to make the whole of these journeys at their own expense, even though the County Association, which knows the circumstances, thinks that they might fairly receive some part, at any rate, of the expenses which they incur. The besetting sin of the War Office, if I may say so, all through their communications with the County Associations has been the same as that of the Home Office, the Local Government Board, and other Government Departments in London. They all think that everybody lives within half an hour of a country town, and that arrangements suitable for London or Lancashire apply equally 39 well in Devonshire or any other county in which nineteen-twentieths of the population live in villages more or less remote.
My Lords, I want to call attention, very briefly, to one or two points that have arisen in the course of this debate. I think all of us owe gratitude to Lord Wynford, who speaks with considerable actual experience of Artillery work, for the speech he has made to-night. Very few of you who believe at all in the possibility of Territorial Artillery will go away with the idea that this is, or ever will be, an effective Force when you consider that only nine of the officers in the batteries have had any experience in the Regular Artillery, and that a third of those officers who command the batteries are in no way qualified by passing the qualification test. And a very low qualification test it is when you consider that these men, if they are going to be used in any way at all, will have only fifteen days training a. year as opposed to the 365 days training of the men they are going to meet; or, in two years, thirty days training against 730. My Lords, our Territorial Force may be wonderful. They may work hard; they may strive to do their best; but how is it possible to imagine that these men with raw horses, men who must be drawn from the towns, because it is a fact that almost the whole of the Artillery batteries are drawn from the towns and are therefore composed of men who have to learn their gun drill and their manœuvre work and the whole of the various kinds of work which Artillery have to do, signalling, range finding, and the thousand and one other technical details which a man cannot know in civilian life—how can you imagine that this body can be anything else but a fraud and a sham?
I wish to join with Lord Wynford in saying that we have to give the highest praise to those individuals who are trying to undertake the duty, but with the result that they can never arrive at anything which is in any sense practical. I am sure, after listening to what has been said to-night, most of you, even those who take the most open-minded view, must agree with that. I would ask your Lordships whether any soldier believes in the Territorial Artillery. I should very much doubt if even Mr. Haldane believes in it himself, because when he went to the only review on a large scale he ever attended he had to employ Regular Artillery horses, showing that he did not recognise that 40 partly-trained gunners and wholly untrained horses could partake in a review. A whole battalion was disorganised in order that a Secretary of State might attend a Territorial Review; and in order to make a better show he had to have recourse to the Regular Artillery, making the whole thing a sham and a discreditable pretence; so that I should doubt myself whether Mr. Haldane does not share the views of most of the members of this House, that this Artillery is not efficient and probably never can be efficient.
Then there is one other matter. I do not think these sort of minor matters, this policy of pin-pricks and objection to work which is done by the various County Associations, matters much. If you worry the War Office sufficiently long you eventually get some sort of compromise; and if you do get that compromise the worst of it is that a great many of us feel that we are wringing it reluctantly out of the Government, and that money is being stopped off the Regular Army. I do not wish to touch on these points. I speak as a Chairman of a County Association. We have the greatest difficulty in getting money that we really require, especially money which goes towards efficiency. Still, I do not think that matters if the big point still lies open, as to whether the Territorial Force, even if we got the whole of the money, could ever be made efficient to carry out the duties that are required of them.
Now I come to the subject of the functions of the Territorial Force. I am only going to take one point. Lord Roberts, who is not in his place to-night, I am sure would not wish this point to go by, he having interested himself in it so much in the past. I refer to the number of foreign invaders whom the Territorial Army may have to face. I do not wish to speak from the invasion point of view, because I am dealing with a much more important question—namely, the setting free of our Expeditionary Force. We know that if the Home Defence Force is not more efficient than it is to-day we shall cease to be a world Power, because we cannot send a single man abroad. On this point Lord Derby said that the official number of possible invaders had been raised from 10,000 to 70,000. Let me point out that we started in 1906 with the dinghy theory. In May, 1906, we had raids of 10,000 mentioned, and in 1908, by Lord Roberts's action mainly, based on figures which were entirely taken 41 from the 1907 and early 1908 period, figures which set out the situation in the North Sea at that time, we won from the Government the admission that there was a possibility of invasion by from 50,000 to 100,000 men. It is now over two years since those figures were put forward. The situation in the North Sea has altered completely in that period, and if the Territorial Army was raised with the idea of being able to repel an invasion of only 10,000 men, it is certainly much less able now to repel an invasion of 70,000, and still less able to repel an invasion which might occur as the figures stand to-clay. When we placed these facts before the Defence Committee Germany had no submarines. Now she has submarines, meaning that in time of war, as we have no naval bases in the North Sea behind which the Fleets can go, the North Sea will have to be cleared of our ships, or they will remain there at their own peril. Rosyth is not finished, Chatham is merely a dock, and there is no place where the ships can lie. Again, since these figures have been got out Germany has altered the base of her Fleet from the Baltic to the North Sea. The Reserves which come through the 1905 German Army Law now amount at certain times of the year to the full war strength of the battalions. This year Germany for the first time has in training something like 350,000 Reservists with their regiments; that is to say, instead of having to wait the necessary time to call up their Reserves, if a call to arms were necessary the German battalions may mobilise almost immediately full war strength.
Since those figures were put forward by Lord Roberts and others in 1908 the question of the comparative values of the Fleets in the North Sea has altered considerably, and in the course of another year or two the two-Power standard which we have heard so much about may, but much more probably will, not be in existence at all. I mention these facts simply to bring out this point. The Territorial Army, of which much is a sham, which was raised for the purpose of repelling raids of 10,000 men, could not be expected on the figures of two years ago to be effective as regards 70,000. Then how much less can they be expected to fulfil their functions to-day, when the Lumbers have altered so greatly against this country, and when the political situation in the North Sea is so very much more adverse to ourselves than it was in the days when the Territorial Army was first raised?
42 I do not wish to bring up any other points. I cordially agree with what Lord Dartmouth said, that those who have worked, and worked, I think, hard, to give this Territorial Army a chance, feel that it is rather doubtful if they can bring that work into unison with their conscience, because matters in the Territorial Army are not going forward in the way they ought to do, and very much is left to sham and eye-wash when every endeavour ought to be in the direction of getting the Force better trained.
THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (LORD LUCAS)
My Lords, the noble Lord who put this Notice on the Paper put it down in the widest form possible. I do not suggest for one moment that any noble Lord has not spoken strictly to it, I think noble Lords have, but the debate has run on two entirely separate lines, one being what I may call the general military and strategic question, and the other the administrative question. I feel that if I attempt now to cover the whole field of the debate—that is to say, to deal with both these two separate questions—I shall be taking up an undue amount of the time of the House, and wearying your Lordships. I would, therefore, if I may be allowed to do so, prefer at the moment to deal entirely with the administrative question raised by the noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, and I hope the other noble Lords who have Questions on the Paper will understand that I do not in the least shirk answering them, and that I will take the opportunity of doing so when the two Questions on the Paper dealing specifically with the military or strategical point of view are put.
I am very glad that the noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, did bring this question forward, I think it is a very good time to do so, and undoubtedly the noble Earl is the most fitting person to bring the subject forward. He is not only President and Chairman of one of the Associations that has led the way in this movement all through, but he has also taken a particularly keen interest in the work of the Territorial Force as a whole. He is one of those distinguished people, referred to by the noble Duke the other night, who inspire with their presence in camp. As I say, he is Chairman of one of the County Associations—bodies we look upon as having been of great assistance to us in many ways in trying to solve some of the 43 difficult questions which frequently lie before us. We are now at the end of the second year of the existence of the Force. The County Associations have had considerable experience, and although it is the second year in the existence of the Force it is practically the first year in which the strength has been anything approaching the establishment. So that it is now possible for the first time really to test the general financial provisions that have been made in the light of actual experience. I think it is a very good and fitting thing that we should do so.
Before I come to the general financial question I would like to answer one or two points that have been raised. I am afraid I can only answer them by going deeply into detail, and I shall also have to quote to your Lordships a number of specific cases that have arisen. When I quote specific cases I propose in no instance to quote the name of the Association concerned and I am only going to quote typical cases that arise in order to explain, or, if necessary, to justify, our action. I want to say nothing which can be taken as reflecting in any adverse sense whatever upon the County Associations. I want no word to fall from me which can in any w ay embitter relations between the County Associations and the War Office. I recognise, and I am glad to have this opportunity of expressing it, the great work that has been done by the County Associations, and the great difficulties under which they have in many cases laboured. They can rest assured that the difficulties have not been on their side only. We have had great difficulties to meet too, but I hope that this debate, and this opportunity of ventilating our views on both sides, will help to clear the air and establish even better relations than have hitherto existed.
I will deal with the points that have been raised as quickly as I possibly can. There is a question to which several noble Lords referred—namely, that of our not allowing County Associations to purchase boots and then deal them out to the men. Properly speaking, boots were not regarded as part of the equipment in the old days of the Volunteers, and we do not consider them as part of the equipment of the Territorial Force. We urge County Associations to do what they can to get their men to wear good boots, and I think in some 44 cases they are doing it very successfully. We allow them to make a grant out of their funds towards helping the men to get boots, and to make contracts, and so on, in order to obtain boots cheaply. But I must say we are opposed to the proposals which have been made to us by County Associations, which, perhaps, I can best describe as proposals for instituting municipal trading by these Associations in the way of purchasing large quantities of boots and reselling them again to the men. I think anything of that sort is undesirable; but if County Associations can obtain in the way that we have suggested cheap boots, of course we are very glad to see them do so.
Then with regard to the question of travelling to drills, which has been raised by several speakers, I do not know whether noble Lords are aware of it, but we recently did make a special grant to County Associations to enable sections of men to travel to the headquarters of their companies for the purposes of drills, and we now propose to allow County Associations to spend that money, which was calculated on an absolute return that was made by County Associations, and also any surplus funds, if they happen to have any, on the travelling of individuals to drills. This, I think, is a distinct concession which ought to go a long way, and I hope will go a long way, towards meeting the point which noble Lords have raised.
The noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, considers we are going too fast. He said that the horse census and matters of that sort threw too much work on County Associations, and I notice that that remark called forth cheers from the other side. On the other hand many people think that we are not going fast enough, and that the thing is a sham and a farce because the whole Territorial Force is not complete at the present moment. That view was expressed somewhat decidedly by the noble Lord, Lord Lovat.
I am sorry I conveyed that meaning to the noble Lord. What I meant to convey was that any recommendations we made were not paid the slightest attention to.
The noble Lord said that, but at the same time he made it perfectly clear, to me at any rate, that 45 because the Territorial Force was not in an absolute state of preparedness in every way he considered that we were not taking it seriously.
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord again, but as he makes a direct reference to what I said I must point out that my remarks were directed to the training, and I should not have imagined, nor would any individual connected with the County Associations, that the County Associations had anything to do with the training of the men.
No one knows better than the noble Lord himself that these questions with regard to equipment and the provision of horses may be dealt with through the administrative authority, but their provision is really only for the purpose of training or mobilisation, and the noble Lord cannot get out of it by saying that he is only referring to training, because the two are absolutely connected. However, it is quite true that we have put these schemes forward. We have met with very strong recommendations that we should do so, and we are anxious to see the machinery for the Force generally as complete as possible.
With regard to the question of secretaries' salaries, we have bad this matter under consideration now for a considerable time. The view expressed by Lord Haversham is one that is held by a great many people. We hope within a short time to be able to issue instructions with regard to that, and I trust they will meet with the general favour of County Associations. I would like to say that we have received from the Council of County Associations a suggested scale of secretaries' salaries, which has been of assistance to us in working the question out.
There is also the question of the sergeant-instructors. This is by no means the first occasion on which it has been pointed out to us that they are, in the view of many people, inadequate in numbers. I would like to point out that, comparing the strength of the Volunteers with that of the Territorial Force—for this purpose we can leave the Yeomanry out of the question altogether, because no change has been made at all with regard to the number of permanent instructors—there are more instructors per cent. in the Territorial 46 Force than there were in the Volunteers. And in the infantry, again taking the establishment of the two, there are about the same number of instructors per cent. in the Territorial as there was in the Volunteer Infantry. Taking the actual strength into consideration, there is a rather smaller percentage of instructors for the Territorials than there was for the old Volunteers, but practically the balance all through is about the same.
Then with regard to the position of the Permanent Staff. We hope to be able shortly to make what we believe will be a satisfactory announcement with regard to the status of the Permanent Staff. The Committee which was appointed, after one of the interviews which the Council of the County Associations had with the Secretary of State—and on which there was a representative of the Council of the County Associations—to deal with the extra emoluments of the Permanent Staff, has met a good many times and has now drawn up its report, and I hope that is a matter on which we shall soon be in a position to make an announcement. With regard to numbers, we have appointed 110 extra instructors since March, 1909.
As to the question, raised by Lard Zouche, of appointing Regular officers to command Territorial units, I would like to say that we are, on the whole, opposed to doing it systematically. The argument has often been put forward, not so much in connection with the Territorial Force as with the Special Reserve. The noble Duke, the Duke of Bedford, has often expressed the opinion in this House that if you put Regular officers to command these units, you are apt to greatly discourage the officer on the non-Regular basis, who feels that, after all, he may work as hard as he likes, and do everything he can, and yet never rise to what ought to be his legitimate ambition—namely, to command his unit; and we do attach great importance to that. I believe I am quoting accurately when I say that in the Swiss Militia a system of having their units commanded by officers from that small Permanent nucleus winch they maintain there, was tried, but the effect was discouraging on the Swiss Militia officers, and they have deliberately, after trying the experiment, abandoned it, and the results are on the whole better.
47 Then Lord Zouche raised the question of the elaborate tactical schemes which he says are set to officers in camp, and he also suggested the instruction of Territorial officers by Regular officers attached during the time they are in camp. I think that the general system of training is settling down. There is a much clearer view by the military authorities concerned as to the kind of training which ought to be given to Territorials, and I believe there is no doubt that we shall very soon have a much more careful system based on the idea that you have to teach people the rudiments before you can give them the more advanced work. That matter is occupying the attention of the General Staff, who are in consultation with the military authorities in the various Commands on that very point. With regard to having Regular officers at the elbow of Territorial officers to guide and advise them, our view is that opportunities of that sort should certainly be given, and that the kind of occasion on which they should be given is in a thing like a Staff ride. But when the Territorial officer is in camp he ought to be in command of his own men. It has been suggested, and there is a great deal to be said for the suggestion, that the whole of the Permanent Staff, and the Adjutant, should he left at home when you go to camp. We believe that the Regular officer is more useful on occasions such as Staff rides rather than when the Territorial officer is commanding his men.
Now I come to the question which has been more fruitful of controversy, I am sorry to say, between the County Associations and the War Office than any other. Charges have been made that the War Office interferes too much in the method in which Associations administer their funds. I think that when those charges come to be examined it is found that it has been on property questions that there has been a great deal of correspondence between Associations and the War Office, and a very strict control by the War Office over the way in which Associations spend public money in this particular way. I am glad to say that we do see daylight ahead of us with regard to the whole mass of the work, because the greater part of it is undoubtedly done with and settled. There has been capital expenditure approved up to the end of last month to the amount of £680,000—capital expenditure on new buildings, and so on; and there is still under consideration properties 48 of the value of £337,000, a large amount of which is for ranges. A good deal of the consideration of that is very nearly completed and sanctioned. We have also approved additional property rented or leased of an annual value of £21,000, and we have made special grants of £61,000 for dilapidations and repairs, so that a great deal has been done.
I think the noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, really hit the nail on the head with regard to the cause of all our differences on this matter when he said that local peculiarities have to be taken into consideration. He laid it down that it was desirable that there should be a different standard in the matter of buildings for the town and the country. That is a view we simply cannot accept, and for this reason. No one knows better than I do that it would be a very choice thing for the Territorial Force, and would undoubtedly stimulate recruiting and all the rest of it, if we were able to provide large and sumptuous headquarters for the units. The bigger the drill-hall and the better the property the more you attract men there. The more you can give in the way of manœuvring area the greater the attraction would be. If you give a manœuvring area like Salisbury Plain, there is no doubt that the Territorial Force would be more efficient than it is at the present moment. But, after all, we are bounded by what is possible, and by what we considered necessary under these conditions; and the only standard which it was possible for us to set up in this matter was the standard of strict military requirements. The whole thing was looked at from that point of view. The store accommodation was considered from the standpoint of strict military requirements. It was measured out in accordance with the amount of stores that had to he accommodated there. The drill-halls were considered from the point of view of the kind of instruction which usually is, and, in our opinion, ought to be, given in them. A very big drill-hall is, of course, a very nice thing to have, but, after all, the kind of drill done in a drill-hall is the kind which used to be very slightingly talked of by almost everybody after the South African War as "barrack square drill." Drill is only part of the training of a soldier, and twenty feet more or less space is not going to interfere with the nature of the drill you give him in the drill hall. This question has been gone into with every care, and we have given what we believe to be sufficient accommodation 49 in order to carry out the kind of drill that ought to be given in drill halls. The same applies with regard to social accommodation. Of course, social accommodation does not come under strict military requirements but we provided it, and there we had to strike what we considered to he a fair average. I know it is nothing like the amount of social accommodation that is given in some of the richer towns, especially in the north of England, in London, and in various places of that sort, but, on the other hand, it is considerably better than the accommodation provided in the old Volunteer days. In some of the smaller country towns in a great many cases we have been told that the schedule is considered to be rather on the luxurious side, but in the bigger towns we have been told it is exceedingly poor. After all, however, I have explained the only standpoint we could adopt, and we have adopted it all through. With regard to the difficulties that have arisen, I do not think that our requirements can be considered either very difficult to carry out or very arbitrary.
If I am not detaining your Lordships too long I would like to state the actual steps that were required to be taken in the provision of headquarters. First of all, we insist on a careful investigation as to what the unit that is requiring property consists of, and what unit, if any, used that property before, if it is a. case of adapting or taking over old property. Secondly, we try to find out whether it is possible to house the unit in any other existing property. Thirdly, if the case is made out, we obtain the aid of local surveyors to make a valuation of the property. Fourthly, if the property can be obtained at that valuation, we sanction it. Then, with regard to the erection of buildings, we expect Associations to submit plans, which, if in accordance with the schedule and not excessive in price, we sanction, or, if it is a case of bettering existing buildings, we expect Associations to submit plans to us, which we endeavour to get in as close accord with the schedule as possible. After that, when the site plans have been approved and the scheme has been carried out, we ask for a surveyor's certificate showing the value of the property and the life of the buildings, and then we approach the Public Works Loan Board for a loan. The Board communicate with the solicitors and satisfy themselves as to the title deeds, and when the works are completed our engineer officer inspects them, and the Board pay over the 50 final instalment. I do not think, on the whole, that we are asking too much with regard to that.
But I must say that at every single stage of those various steps that I have enumerated we have been met with difficulties. I will take them in the order in which I gave them. We have had a good many cases of Associations asking for headquarters for a battalion when we find that it is only headquarters required for the use of a few companies. I am not charging Associations with bad faith or anything of that sort, but it is quite a common thing to say that such and such a battalion has its headquarters at a particular place, when as a matter of fact it may have three or four or five or six outlying companies. Then with regard to trying to fit in units into existing property. There, I admit, we and the County Associations have often been at variance. I will give a typical case, a kind of case that has often arisen. We have been asked to take over the existing headquarters of a unit that were once occupied by a Volunteer unit. Those headquarters, in a very large number of cases, especially in the cases of most of the bigger ones, are built on the best and largest scale, and it is no exaggeration to say that in the great majority of cases they are heavily mortgaged. We take over the headquarters and the mortgage also. There may be, and of ten is, a case where there is a considerable amount of ground round the place, far more than we allow in the schedule, and our view, when taking over the mortgage of these headquarters, is that it is not unreasonable to suggest that other headquarters should be erected on the site. We have suggested it, and that has been, I am sorry to say, the cause of a great deal of the difficulty and the delay that have occurred. It is very hard for us to justify renewing a mortgage on a property of this kind and charging public funds with a considerable annual sum in order to maintain property for a particular unit which we consider to be in excess of its actual requirements, and when we are providing elsewhere for new units at; a very much lower cost.
Then with regard to valuations, we do not by any means find it easy to get these valuations. There is often great delay before the Associations send us a valuation. In some cases we have been given valuations by the vendor, and in one case we got a valuation and report of a wrong piece of land altogether. With regard to the difficulty of 51 obtaining property at the surveyor's valuation, there is a good deal of that, and it is sometimes due to the way in which the Association has carried on the negotiations. For instance, cases have arisen where Associations have handed our letters to the vendor. Of course that is not usually done, but where it is done it is very doubtful whether you are going to get the vendor to come down to your terms after you have laid all your cards on the table. The noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, quoted cases where by reason of delay valuable bargains have been lost. Perhaps such instances have come to his knowledge, but we are aware of exceedingly few; whereas we do know of an enormous number of cases where by holding out, in spite of the advice of an Association, we have got the vendor to come to our terms; and, taking it altogether, by insisting that we will not give more than what the valuer says is the true value of the property we have saved a great deal of money.
As to the question of the acceptance of the schedule when plans are sent in, there is no doubt that that has been the greatest difficulty of all and the greatest cause of delay. We have had a very large number of cases sent to us. Plans have been prepared by surveyors at considerable cost and sent in to us which it has been quite impossible for us to accept, and a great deal of argument has gone on about them. The issue of the schedule was clue to the very point Lord Dartmouth pointed out. There was, quite naturally, a certain amount of lack of knowledge or experience on the part of Associations as to what they had to provide, and we tried to supply that by issuing the schedule. Since the schedule has been issued—and it has been out for a very long time now and our position is perfectly plain with regard to it—we have not departed from it at all. Our position is that we can only sanction schedule buildings. If any one will take the trouble to inquire into the cause of delay, it will be found to be because the Associations simply have refused to accept the schedule accommodation. I could quote to your Lordships a very large number of cases of that kind, but I do not think I need do so. One Association reproached us because we would not provide the accommodation "necessary for the defence of the country" as they expressed it. The particular bit of accommodation that we were arguing about I may tell your Lordships was a billiard room. Then there was the case of an Association that wanted a drill-hall double the size of the 52 I drill-hall we proposed, and they said, quite openly, that they wanted it for concerts, soirees, and lawn tennis. I could multiply instances of that kind.
Yes, and I thank the noble Lord for reminding me about that. I must say I do not consider this particular swimming bath case a very flagrant one, because I believe there is in the quarters which were being taken over something in the shape of an old and rudimentary swimming bath, and one of the units that was going into it sent in a request that they should be allowed to take it over. I think the swimming bath was mentioned more in the sense of panis et circenses than anything else.
Here is another case, and a very typical one of the kind with which we have to deal. A certain battalion changed their headquarters. We sanctioned the change, and in order to facilitate matters, because they asked us to give them a lump sum if I remember right, we told them that we would give them £6,000 to get the land and erect their headquarters, and we sanctioned half an acre as the amount of land they should negotiate for. Seven months later we received a proposal from them to buy five-sixths of an acre, and as it was in the town of course there was a considerable amount of money involved, but we sanctioned that on the understanding that the whole scheme should still not cost more than the original figure of £6,000. We heard nothing more of it for two months, and at the end of that time we received a scheme from this Association which, together with the land, which I think they had by that time purchased, was going to come to £8,500. There is an instance of a thing which has gone on for something like a year. We have been perfectly consistent about it throughout, and that is the kind of case which I see quoted as showing that the War Office take up an impossible attitude and cause an enormous amount of delay in providing headquarters. I am sorry to have taken up so much of your. Lordships' time with regard to this question of property, but it is, as I say, the most difficult and must troublesome question that we have had to deal with. I am sure it has been the one over which there 53 has been the most friction with County Associations. I would only add this, that we have laid down the schedule, and we can only accept one standard for this accommodation, and that is a standard in accordance with military requirements. I wish we could provide clubs for the men, but there is no justification that can be put forward for doing that out of public funds. If clubs are desirable, I can only make one suggestion, and one that I make with great hesitation because I do not like appealing to private individuals. But I do think that as the Volunteer force was the recipient of a great deal of private money in the way of subscriptions and that sort of thing, there is no doubt that out of a great deal of that private money was found the existing social accommodation on the large scale in the case of Volunteer headquarters. This accommodation is a perfectly sound and fair thing for the expending of private money upon. We provide the military side of the accommodation, but I do not think it is an impossible thing to expect that the absolutely social side of it should be met out of private funds.
Now I come to the general question, which has been raised in a great many forms during the debate as to the adequacy of the grants. We are only just in a position to judge of the adequacy of the grants, and even at the present moment I cannot give the conclusive results, because we have only received a certain number of the accounts of the Associations for the year 1909–10, and have not been able to analyse them all yet. But I can give a general estimate of what the position is with regard to sixty County Associations. At the end of the year 1908–09 the whole of the Associations carried forward surplus cash in the way of cash assets to the amount of £352,000, and they carried forward, as liabilities, £161,000. That is the whole of the Associations together. They had a sinking fund of £17,000. The sixty Associations whose accounts we have had in have decreased their assets by £57,000, and have decreased their liabilities by £30,000. They have owing to them for buildings at the present moment £2,500, and they have put to sinking fund £48,000; that is to say, their receipts for this last year have exceeded their expenditure by over £23,000.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
Might I ask 54 the noble Lord whether he could tell us what, actuarially, we ought to have in reserve. I understand that the sum we ought to have actuarially in reserve is something like five times that amount.
I do not think that even actuarially it would be possible to inform the noble Lord. I will tell him why. I take the clothing grant as the simplest for the purpose of illustration. The clothing grant with regard to service dress is based on the life of the clothing being four years. If you clothe the whole of your men the first year you must set by a sinking fund against the time when, four years hence, that clothing is worn out. If you clothe only a quarter of your men each year, then you need not put by any sinking fund at all, because the annual grants will meet your expenditure. Therefore it is an extremely difficult thing to calculate what the total amount of sinking fund should be. Do I make that clear?
What I mean is this. Take, for the sake of simplicity, the service dress. The grants are based on its lasting for four years—that is to say, you get one quarter of the value of the whole of your service dress every year.
Those are upkeep grants. You do not get the upkeep grant in the first year. You draw the initial grant, but suppose in the case of any one Association that recruiting is normal in the sense that they are taking in about one quarter of their establishment every year, and there has been nothing like a recruiting boom and no great demand on them for clothing, then in that case they will be able to meet the whole of their clothing out of the annual grant, and there will be no need for them to put by a sum to replace the clothing at the end of four years.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
These new men will require clothing at the end of four years whether they are many or few.
Yes, but for every one of those new men you will be drawing four grants—that is to say, you will be drawing the equivalent of a new suit.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, but I should very much like by correspondence just to bring out this point, because I think he could probably make it more clear to me in a written answer.
Yes. I am sorry I have not made it more clear. The result is that whereas some Associations would have to put by a considerable amount to sinking fund, there are other Associations who, at any rate in respect of a good deal of their clothing and equipment, will need to put very little to sinking fund. Therefore you cannot arrive at any final figure with regard to the sinking fund. I think that answers the questions which the noble Lord asked me.
§ LORD WENLOCK
Does not the auditor point out in each Association what the sinking fund ought to be? If so, you could find out how much the sixty Associations ought to have.
I have seen a good many of these accounts. They do not always give that information, and we do not require it. It is not one of our instructions to the Auditor. Then with regard to the County Associations' accounts, we took fifteen of them haphazard in order to make them typical illustrations. We took them from every part of the country, and worked out their accounts for the year on a profit and loss basis. I will not give the names. Here is a scattered Scottish county, with an establishment of just over 2,000 men, and 80 per cent. of its establishment; it finishes up the year with a loss for the year of just over £1,100. Here is a Scottish city, with an establishment of 2,800 men, and 79 per cent. of its establishment; it ends up with £600 to the bad. Here is another county in Scotland, a small one, and a fairly scattered one, with an establishment of 631, and its strength extremely low, only 63 per cent.; that county ends up the year with a gain of £1,200. Here is another, a large Scottish city, with an establishment of over 9,000, and 92 per cent. of its establishment; it finishes up the year with a gain of £5,500. Here is a typical Southern 56 English county, with an establishment of 4,600, and 96 per cent. of its establishment; it ends up with a gain of £220. Here is a very scattered English county, with an establishment of 2,600, and 84 per cent. of its establishment; it ends up with £489 to the good, besides which it has a considerable number of horses. Here is a county in the North of England, with an establishment of 5,500, and 84 per cent. of its establishment; it ends up with £5,000 to the good. Here is a very typical county as regards people and geography, and that kind of thing—a Southern English county, with an establishment of 3,000, and 82 per cent. of its establishment; it ends up with £2,300 to the bad. The total result of those fifteen counties is that they are £17,000 to the good. My point about that is this, that it is impossible to draw any line. A good deal is said about scattered counties being more expensive to work than concentrated ones, but there are instances of both scattered and concentrated counties, some working out with a large profit, and some at a considerable loss.
It is attributable very largely, I think, to the difference in the methods of working among County Associations. Some of them centralise a great deal, others decentralise. But it is the fact that all through the country there are counties alongside one another, some with considerable gains and sonic with considerable losses. I have one county here which is a perfect jewel. It is an industrial county in the North of England with big towns, and also with scattered units in its country districts, and it has an establishment of just under 8,000, and its strength was 91 per cent. last October. It has a total grant of £30,000. A certain number of horses, I believe, have been bought, and the men are thoroughly well-clothed and equipped. It has saved during the past year the sum of £3,000, and has a total credit of from £20,000 to £24,000. That is an Association with which I should also like to say we have had very little difficulty in the matter of property. That only goes to show that the grants are adequate. A good deal has been said about the inadequacy of the grants that have been given, but on these Association 57 accounts as they stand all I can say is that the case is not proved. It is undoubtedly proved that certain individual Associations have outrun their grants, but on the average the case is not proved. We have discussed with one or two associations their finances, and we are perfectly prepared to do so with any Association that chooses to come to us; but I must say, speaking from what has been before us at the present moment, we must have a stronger case made out as to inadequacy of the grants we give than is made out by the accounts for this last year, so far as we have seen them. That, I think, completes the question of administration.
I now come to the Artillery. Lord Wynford has the following Questions on the Paper—
The percentage varies a good deal in the various Commands, but I may say in answer to the first Question that the average is 30 per cent. in the case of majors, and 35 per cent. in the case of captains. The answer to the second Question is that, as far as we know, no officers have been excused from attendance at the courses laid down in Sub-Appendix II, but in some cases there has been an extension of time. The answer to the third Question is: Yes; Army Form E. 535 is used for this purpose.
- 1. What percentage of the Establishment of (a) Major; and (b) Captains of Territorial Horse and Field Batteries have qualified for promotion to their present rank under Territorial Force Regulations, 1908, Appendix 6, Sub-Appendix II.
- 2. What percentage have been excused attendance from the courses laid down in Sub-Appendix II.
- 3. Whether these officers are required to obtain any certificate of proficiency on the conclusion of these courses.
One or two questions were raised by Lord Wynford and Lord Lovat with regard to the Artillery, and I would like, if I may, to deal with them now. I quite agree that the question as to the provision of horses is extremely important, and I know that the County Associations have been taking it up. It is by no means an easy thing to settle, but very satisfactory results have been obtained by the purchase of horses for use by Associations. The results in sonic cases have been satisfactory where Associations have purchased horses and hoarded them out with private individuals, farmers and tradesmen, and so on, 58 and then have a right to call on them for drills and for camp. But, on the whole, the first plan has certainly succeeded very well indeed. The second plan has succeeded, though it has not been such an unqualified success. We are considering how best to assist Associations if they want to purchase horses for this purpose, and we attach great importance to the principle being extended of Associations purchasing horses and keeping them for their units, especially for the Artillery. The whole question of the pay of the Permanent Staff of the Artillery is under consideration at the present moment. I have referred to it already, and I hope we shall be able to make a satisfactory announcement with regard to it at an early date.
No. I am afraid it concerns other Departments than my own, and therefore I do not like to make any forecast. It is quite true what the noble Lord, Lord Wynford, said about the firing practice that was carried out last year, and as to the units training on Salisbury Plain. There is a great inadequacy of inland Artillery ranges and the Territorial Artillery suffer by it, and when we have more ranges it will be of great advantage to them, and an improvement in their shooting is bound to result. As I think noble Lords are aware, we are at the present moment in process of acquiring a large additional area of Salisbury Plain which will practically double the range capacity, and the arrangements for the acquisition of another range are well advanced, so that we hope within a comparatively short time to have added at least two more inland Artillery ranges.
Then the noble Lord raised the question as to the command of batteries by retired Regular officers. With due deference to his view on that point, and hearing in mind the undoubted skill that is required from a battery commander, I do think that the view I expressed in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Zouche, also applies to the Artillery, especially at the present time, when the Territorial Artillery is in its infancy. I do not mean to say that at the present moment you would not be likely to find batteries commanded by 59 efficient retired officers in a higher state of efficiency than other batteries in the Territorial Force that are not so commanded. I do not say that if you were simply working for the highest standard in the Artillery this year or next year the best thing would not be to have Regular officers to command your batteries. But you have to take into consideration the question of how you are going to get the very best work and the very best efforts out of your Territorial Force, and I have no doubt that you would find, five or ten years hence, exactly the same state of things here as the Swiss found in their Militia, if you attempted to put Regular officers in command of your Territorial Artillery. I will not go into the question, which is one of the gravest character, as to how you would get the Artillery officers who are to command this large number of batteries. That is one of the first questions you would have to face. But in spite of everything the noble Lord says, the fact does remain that at the present moment there are in the Territorial Artillery officers who are not professional Artillerymen, men who have taken the work up comparatively recently, who are making good battery commanders, who are teaching their men to drive decently, who are able to get a creditably high standard of gun laying, who arc able to teach their men fire drill, and all the other intricacies of the work. The Artillery has attracted in a great many cases an extremely able, keen, and competent class of men, and those men realise the responsibilities which are being thrown upon them. I do not mean to say that the Territorial Artillery at the present moment does not vary. Of course, it varies. You will find some batteries much better than others. The Territorial Artillery has had to face all the difficulties to an exaggerated degree that the other arms of the Territorial Force have had to meet in the starting of a new system. But, taking them as a whole, I say with the utmost confidence that in the case of the Territorial Artillery, taking into consideration the fact that in many cases we have had to start building it up with an insufficient supply of instructors, and all the rest of it, the results already appearing in our opinion justify us in the experiment that we made with regard to it; and we have every reason to believe that as the Territorial Force goes on, as the men who are now subalterns rise through the various ranks and finally attain the command of their batteries— 60 and it is not until you get that that you arrive at the normal efficiency of your Territorial Artillery—then the results of which we have already seen some indications will be attained, and we maintain that the Territorial Artillery will be efficient for its purpose—namely, as being the Artillery of a Second Line Army.
§ THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH
My Lords, I should like, in the first place, to thank the noble Lord for the kindly reference he made to me and to the Council of County Associations, but I own I am somewhat disappointed to find that a great many of the points T raised have not been answered at all, while a great many points I did not raise have been dealt with. I only rise for the purpose of saying that if the Territorial Force is to continue on a satisfactory basis there must be a better working arrangement between the County Associations and the War Office. That is a point which has been overlooked, and I had hoped to make it a principal point in my speech. I am afraid that we cannot look upon this as being a conclusive debate, and I feel certain it will be necessary to raise the question again. Putting the point in a nut-shell, the Under-Secretary of State for War said the other day, when dealing with the horse census, that all we had to do was to give the problem to the County Associations to solve. That is one of the things that we complain of. They are always giving us problems to solve, and when we have solved them they reject our solutions. If these problems are to be given to us, I think we may fairly ask that when we find a solution the solution should be adopted. As I have already said, the feeling is very strong throughout the country on the part of County Associations that much of their work is thrown away, and that it does not receive the consideration from the military authorities to which it is fully entitled.
I am extremely sorry if, through any ineptness of mine, I have left the noble Lord with a feeling that I did not meet the ease he put forward. I must say that I tried to meet him as fully as I could, and I hope he will not go away with that feeling. If either by further discussion in this House or outside it I can meet his point, I can only say, on behalf of the War Office, that we shall be very glad to try and do it.