§ *THE DUKE OF BEDFORD rose to call attention to—
§ 1. The statement of the Under-Secretary of State for War on 6th March, 1911 [OFFICIAL REPORT]:
§ That the number of Regular Infantry officers required for the six Divisions of the Expeditionary Force is 2,461, exclusive of Staff, and that the number serving by the Army List of January, 1911, not seconded was 1,998, and that the number of officers required for the four battalions remaining at home after the departure of the Expeditionary Force is 112.
§ 2. To the fact that the above figures show a total deficiency of 575, exclusive of Staff, or for any allowance for temporary unfitness for active service.
§ 3. To the statement of the Secretary of State for War on the 6th March, 1912 [OFFICIAL REPORT, page 316]:
§ The figures given by the noble Duke are substantially accurate. They are a little old, but the figures to-day, as he stated, are not materially different from those at the date he takes.
§ 4. To the statement of the Secretary of State on 15th May, 1912 [OFFICIAL REPORT]:
§ My answer is that the actual shortage in the Infantry battalions of the Expeditionary Force on 1st March last, after deducting the officers required for Staff and extra regimental appointments, was 666.
§ 5. To ask the Government if it is not a fact that by the War Office Manual War Establishments, 1911–1912, published by authority, the following officers must be withdrawn from regimental duty thereby creating vacancies in then companies as under:
- (A) One subaltern per battalion to act as transport officer and one to act as signalling officer. (See War Establishments, 1911–1912.)
- (B) If it is not a fact that these officers are shown in the War Office Manual Peace Establishments, Part I, for 1911–1912, as belonging to a company, but by War Establishments they are
545 taken from their company and attached to headquarters of their units on mobilisation, thus creating 156 vacancies among company officers in the 78 battalions of the Expeditionary Force.
- (C) If it is not a fact that by the Army List of June, 1912, no A.D.C.'s are appointed to Brigades, whereas by War Establishments, 1911–1912, each Brigade becomes entitled to one A.D.C., making a total of 18 A.D.C.'s for the 18 Brigades.
- (D) If it is not a fact that by Peace Establishments, 1911–1912, there is no establishment laid down for signalling officers for Brigades and Divisions, whereas by War Establishments, 1910–1911, each Division is shown with one divisional signalling officer, and each Brigade with one Brigade signalling officer, that is six for Divisions and 18 for Brigades, making a total of 24 signalling officers.
- (E) if it is not a fact that by comparing the War Office Manuals of War Establishments and of Peace Establishments and the Army List, 198 Infantry officers additional to the shortage of 600 must be required for Staff and extra-regimental duties on the mobilisation of the infantry of the six Divisions of the Expeditionary Force, making a total shortage, including Stall, of 798 instead of 666, as by statement of the Secretary of State for War on 15th May, 1912.
§ 6. To ask if it is not necessary, in addition to the 198 officers required by War Establishments for Staff duties, to make further deductions:
- (A) For temporary unfitness for active service, which at the lowest possible rate of 2 per cent. on the 2,665 officers required according to War Establishments for the Expeditionary Force would amount to 52.
- (B) For the contingent of Infantry officers needed to complete the 182 required from all branches of the Service for aviation work (by Memorandum on Naval and Military Aviation [Cd. 6067]) to the extent of at least 50.
§ 7. To ask if, in the event of the above deductions being necessary, the total deficiency in Infantry officers on mobilisation, including Staff, extra-regimental appointments, wastage and aviation, would amount to 900.
§ (B) If it is not a fact that by War Establishments, 1911–1912, one officer per battalion must be left at the base over-seas, and thus 78 additional officers must be embarked with the Infantry of the Expeditionary Force for this duty, making a total shortage to be made good previous to the embarkation of the Expeditionary Force of 978 Infantry officers.
§ 8. To call attention to the statement of the Secretary of State for War in the House of Lords, 13th May, 1912 [OFFICIAL REPORT]:
§ In completing the requirements of the Expeditionary Force as regards officers it has been found necessary to draw upon four sources: (1) non-commissioned ranks; (2) Special Reserve units; (3) Supplementary Reserve; (4) General Reserve.
§ 9. To ask if it is not a fact that—
- (A) By Army Order, 23rd December, 1907, the number of Special Reserve subalterns in the 74 Third Battalions to be transferred to the Line battalions on mobilisation is four per battalion, making a total of 296.
- (B) By statement of the Under-Secretary of State for War on 13th March, 1912, there are available in the Regular Reserve of Officers 129 captains and 38 subalterns, who are resident in the United Kingdom, who do not belong to any other branch of our Military Forces, and who have not left the Regular Army more than three years.
- (C) By the June Army List there are available on the Supplementary List of the Special Reserve in the Infantry of the Line 56 officers, making a total of 519 officers from the Special Reserve, the Supplementary Reserve, and the Regular Reserve, to meet a deficit of 900, leaving a shortage of 381.
§ 10. To ask if it is the intention on mobilisation to promote 381 N.C.O.'s to commissioned rank to meet the deficiency in company officers in the battalions of the Expeditionary Force, in addition to three N.C.O.'s per battalion in all Special Reserve battalions, as by statement of the Secretary of State for War on 13th May, 1912, making a total of 684 Infantry N.C.O.'s to be promoted to commissioned rank on the mobilisation of the Infantry of the Regular Army previous to the embarkation of the Expeditionary Force.
The noble Duke said: My Lords, in reference to the Questions standing in my name on the Paper, I called the attention of the noble Viscount the then Secretary of State for War before Whitsuntide to the deficiency of Infantry officers on the mobilisation of the Expeditionary Force, and suggested that, including Staff, in round numbers the deficiency would amount to 900. The Secretary of State for War, in his reply, stated—it is in the fourth paragraph of my Notice—that—
The actual shortage in the Infantry battalions of the Expeditionary Force on larch I last, after deducting the officers required for Staff and extra-Regimental appointments, was 666.
That is a very different figure from the one of 900 which I had given and was prepared to make good at that moment had not the Secretary of State for War informed me in the course of his reply that he could not deal with any figures unless they were on the Paper of the House. It was obviously useless for me to quote figures when the Secretary of State for War had just informed me that he could not deal with them. I had to wait until I could get the figures on the Paper of the House. Meantime, before there was any opportunity of so doing, the noble Viscount the Secretary of State for War had been translated into the noble and learned Lord upon the Woolsack.
§ The noble Viscount the late Secretary of State for War had on more than one occasion during the course of discussions in your Lordships' House most kindly invited me to call at the War Office when my mind would be set at rest by War Office experts, who would supply me with information—in the words of the Secretary of State—"of a more full description than it is possible to give across the Table of the House." I feel I should be lacking in 548 courtesy to the noble and learned Viscount upon the Woolsack if I did not explain why I have refrained from availing myself of his kind invitation to walk into the War Office parlour. My reason is that I wish to remain absolutely without knowledge of the secrets of mobilisation. I wish to speak as a member of the House whose only knowledge of mobilisation is derived from War Office manuals and answers given by responsible Ministers in Parliament; in short, from sources of information open to every Continental War Office, and to which it cannot therefore be contrary to the public interest to draw attention. At the same time, although I do not seek to know anything confidential about mobilization matters, I do want to know why the Army List and the Manual of War Establishments give a different set of figures from those recently used by the late Secretary of State for War in your Lordships' House.
§ As to the third paragraph of my Notice, there the late Secretary of State accepts the number of 600, which I have given, as the deficiency of Infantry officers without Staff, but with the qualification of "substantially accurate." Of course, the number of Infantry officers in the Army may vary from month to month, but the variation is very slight. I find by the Report on the British Army, comparing the number of Infantry officers on October 1, 1910, and on October 1, 1911, that there was a variation of two in the course of twelve months. That proves beyond all question that the figure of 600 is not subject to any appreciable difference, but is an absolutely reliable figure upon which to calculate at the present moment. In my fourth paragraph I quote the answer of the Secretary of State, saying that the shortage on mobilisation, including Staff, amounts to 666. That is an addition of 66 officers for Staff and extra-regimental duties, There are War Office Manuals called Peace and War Establishments. They are published by authority, hence the War Office is responsible for their accuracy. They are books showing the number of officers required by a unit in time of peace, and the number required by the same unit—in this case an Infantry battalion—in time of war. They show the difference between the peace and war establishments. In these War Office Manuals it is printed in black and white—and I give the whole detail in my Notice—that 198 additional officers will be required on mobilisation for Staff 549 and extra-regimental duties, and not 66 as by the statement of the late Secretary of State for War. In the sixth paragraph of my Notice I call attention to the fact that, on the basis of two per cent. for temporary unfitness for active service, 52 officers must be deducted, and another 50 for aviation work. These deductions, together with the 198 required by the War Office Manual, give the total shortage of Infantry officers on mobilisation, including Staff, as 900.
When explaining the Army Estimates on March 16, 1911, the Secretary of State for War said—
There is no difficulty at all in mobilising as far as officers of the Expeditionary Force are concerned.
Well, if there is no difficulty at all in providing officers, why did not the late Secretary of State explain to us in a few simple sentences, and in a way which we could all understand, where these First Line officers are to come from? The late Secretary of State for War has never done so. Instead, on May 13 last, he took the course of reading to us a long and intricate War Office Memorandum destructive of all he had told us ten weeks before on the very same point—the shortage of Infantry officers—and added that—
The Memorandum goes to the utmost limit of the information which M. the public interest we are prepared to give.
In the public interest we were to rest content with a final utterance contradicting all the information we had been previously given. It is interesting to contrast what the Secretary of State told us in March with what he read to us in May. On March 6 the Secretary of State said—
What you would do would be to draw upon the Regular officers belonging to the other establishments at home. There are 780 of them with the Special Reserve Battalions. You would make your Expeditionary Force as perfect in officers as possible.
And on May 13 he said—
All the Regular officers belonging to the Special Reserve establishments in peace would remain with them on mobilisation
—a flat contradiction to the statement made in March, and a loss to the Line battalions of 780 officers, and officers, let me explain, actually belonging to but withdrawn from the battalions of the Expeditionary Force. Again, on March 6 the late Secretary of State told us that allowance had been made in the establishment of all Fourth Battalions of the Special
Reserve to admit of four subalterns per battalion passing to the Line on mobilisation. But on May 13 he explained that—
In the course of the later development of the mobilisation scheme this has ceased to be so, and those 4th Battalions do not now have to part with any subalterns on mobilisation
—another flat contradiction to his statement in March, and a loss of 108 subalterns to the infantry of the Expeditionary Force. These are very quick changes, and reveal the surprising fact that up to Easter in this year no plan had been matured for the mobilisation of the Infantry officers of the Expeditionary Force, and if this was the condition of affairs in the case of the Infantry it may have been the same in other arms of the Service. On March 6 the late Secretary of State told us that—
There were available in the Regular Reserve at present 791 Infantry officers, after allowing 40 per cent. for officers who for various reasons may not be forthcoming.
A week later, on March 13, the Under-Secretary of State for War stated that there were 129 Infantry captains and 38 Infantry subalterns resident hi the United Kingdom, who do not belong to any other branch of our military forces, and who have not left the Army for more than three years. These 167 represent the number fit to embark with the Expeditionary Force, which implies fitness for the ordeal of going into action within a fortnight of being called back to the Colours. But 167 is a different figure from 791, less 40 per cent. for wastage, given by the late Secretary of State for War.
§ To sum up the late Secretary of State's March plan. There were available, he said, 780 Regular officers attached to the Special Reserve battalions, plus 108 subalterns from the Fourth Battalions of the Special Reserve, plus 790 Infantry officers from the Regular Reserve. That is a total of 1,678, all of whom, with the exception of 100, were Regular officers available to meet the deficiencies in the Infantry of the Expeditionary Force. The late Secretary of State claimed in March that by means of these 1,678 officers he had wiped out the deficit to which I had then called attention, and had absolutely disposed of the fallacy of the shortage of officers on mobilisation. But a little later, when he was asked to discuss the condition of the Special Reserve he seems to have recognised the fact, if he deprived the Third Battalions of the Special Reserve of the whole teaching Staff 551 of Regular officers and took away most of the subalterns of the Fourth Battalions at the very moment of sending them on service abroad, that the Special Reserve Infantry both for home and foreign service would collapse on mobilisation. You cannot have a military force without officers. In former days the Militia used to be bled white for the advantage of the Line. Now the Line is embarked for service abroad, bled white for the sake of the Special Reserve at home. The Special Reserve is the special creation of the late Secretary of State for War, and must be kept going on mobilisation, even at the risk of the Regular Army abroad.
§ The late Secretary of State for War meant in March to make the Expeditionary Force "as perfect in officers as possible by drawing upon the Regular officers belonging to other establishments at home." In May we see the March plan completely changed. Nine hundred Regular officers belonging to the battalions of the Expeditionary Force, an average of 12 per battalion, are withdrawn from their battalions and left at home for the sake of the Special Reserve and the Territorial Army. It is certain that if ever the Expeditionary Force is sent on to the Continent we shall not be superior in quantity. It follows that the only chance of success resides in being superior in quality. If we arrange to be inferior both in quantity and quality, it is obvious that we have organised defeat, and that is what, for my own part, I think the May plan of the late Secretary of State for War has organised. Now it is certain that if we are defeated in the first decisive action on the Continent we cannot retrieve that initial disaster by a combination of the Territorial Army, the Territorial Force Reserve, the Special Reserve, the General Reserve, the Supplementary Reserve, the Regular Reserve, the Technical Reserve, the National Reserve, the Veteran Reserve, the Officers Training Corps of 20,000 serving members (all school boys), Category B men who are Special Reservists supernumerary to the Territorial Force, Category C men who are men specially enlisted at the moment of mobilisation, Rifle Clubs, Warrior Clubs, and patriotic persons who may be counted upon to come forward in time of emergency. We shall never forget with what consummate skill the late Secretary of State for War used to manœuvre these vast legions to the amazement and bewilderment of his hearers. The late 552 Secretary of State for War will be remembered as the great inventor of new and incomprehensible military forces, and one of his most original creations is an Infantry Reserve destined, not to strengthen, but to weaken battalions of the fighting line by depriving them of 900 of their officers on the eve of one of the decisive battles of the world. It is impossible to make good to the Line the loss of quality which the withdrawal of 900 Regular officers entails.
The attempt to make good the loss of quantity by the May plan is as follows. The late Secretary of State for War told us—it is the eighth paragraph in my Notice—that to complete the requirements of the Expeditionary Force as regards officers it had been found necessary to draw upon four sources—(1) non-commissioned ranks; (2) Special Reserve units; (3) Supplementary Reserve; (4) General Reserve; and he added—
Investigation has shown that it is possible for these four sources to meet all the initial requirements, both Staff and regimental, of the Expeditionary Force of six Divisions on mobilisation.
The investigation alluded to is simplicity itself, and there can be nothing confidential or mysterious about it. The Army List gives the number of officers available, and War Establishments give us the number required on mobilisation. The rest is a simple subtraction sum. I will take the four headings given by the late Secretary of State, leaving the non-commissioned ranks till last, and beginning with the units in the Third Battalions of the Special Reserve. By the Army Order of December 23, 1907, one subaltern from each battalion must be left at the depôt, and four go to the Line battalion on mobilisation. The result of this order on the Third Battalions of the Special Reserve is that there would be 25 battalions with no Special Reserve subalterns at all, and 29 more with three subalterns and less apiece. Yet in May the late Secretary of State for War told us that—
The authorities do not propose necessarily to take four officers from each Special Reserve battalion. If a particular Special Reserve battalion is considerably below its establishment of subalterns its strength may be left undisturbed.
Thus, by the statement of the late Secretary of State for War, 54 battalions out of the 74 would be exempted from the operation of the Army Order on account of deficiency in subalterns. This is impossible. I assume that the Army Order and not the idea of the late Secretary of State is carried
out, and that four subalterns per battalion—that is, 296—are transferred from the Third Battalions of the Special Reserve to the Line.
§ The next source of supply is the Supplementary Reserve. I know the late Secretary of State expects great things of the Supplementary Reserve. All that is necessary is to defer mobilisation for some ten years, then there is no telling to what number the Supplementary Reserve of Infantry officers may not have attained. But we must take facts as we find them, and by the June Army List the Supplementary Reserve for the Line at present numbers 56. I do not wish to disparage the subaltern officers of the Special Reserve and of the Supplementary Reserve, but you do not disparage a man by saying that he does not know that which he has never learnt. We must remember that the officers in the Special Reserve and Supplementary Reserve have never had any training winch would fit them for the First Line duties which they will be required to perform on active service when for the first time they join the Line battalions. It is hard measure upon them and harder upon the battalions. The next source of supply is the General Reserve. Now the only contributions which the General Reserve can make to the officers of the Expeditionary Force is the 167, as explained by the statement of the Under-Secretary of State for War in the ninth paragraph of my Notice.
§ To sum up these three sources of supply, from Third Battalions Special Reserve four per battalion we get 296, from Supplementary Reserve we get 56, from the General Reserve we get 167, a total of 519, to meet a deficit of 900, leaving a shortage of 381. This deficit of 381 presented no difficulties to the late Secretary of State for War, because he was prepared to overcome it by unlimited promotion from the ranks. He recommended that course on the ground that Wellington mobilised with non-commissioned officers. I can find no record of any such action having been taken by the Duke of Wellington previous to the embarkation of his forces for the Peninsular Campaign. I pointed this out to the late Secretary of State for War in May, and he assured us that he would make inquiries among those learned in these things, and if he could get any light on the subject he would communicate with me. I have not heard since on this point from the noble and 554 learned Viscount on the Woolsack. The noble and learned Viscount must allow that the presumption is strongly against any wholesale promotions having been made from. the non-commissioned ranks by the Duke of Wellington, and that at a moment when he was not Commander-in-Chief. In 1809—that is the time to which the noble and learned Viscount must allude—purchase prevailed in the Army, and the value of an Ensign's Commission was from£1,500 to£2,000. If the Duke of Wellington had ever granted commissions to non-commissioned officers with a liberal hand previous to the embarkation of the Army for service it would have been an infringement of the prerogative of the Commander-in-Chief, which must have attracted considerable attention. I hope that the noble and learned Viscount will either establish his precedent or admit that there is no precedent at all.
The late Secretary of State for War told us that he was not only going to promote non-commissioned officers for his Line battalions but also for all Special Reserve battalions, three per battalion. That means 303 for the Special Reserve and 381 for the Line —a total of 684. We have been told by the present Secretary of State for War that lists of non-commissioned officers qualified for promotion are all ready at the War Office. It seems then that when the order to mobilise is flashed from Whitehall, at once upwards of 700 non-commissioned officers are to be promoted to commissioned rank. I wonder what the Government think will be the effect of that order, or whether they have ever thought about it at all. No doubt the commissioned rank will be strengthened, but it is equally certain that it will be done at the expense of the non-commissioned rank. Can the noble Lord opposite assure us that the total efficiency of the Infantry battalions will be increased and not diminished by such a weakening of the non-commissioned rank? It is an easy matter to sew two stripes on to the sleeves of 700 private soldiers and call them corporals. It is still easier to add a third stripe to the sleeves of 700 corporals and call them lance-sergeants. It is when you come to promoting sergeant-majors by the score and colour-sergeants by the hundred at the moment of mobilisation that you must play havoc with the interior economy and discipline of battalions, and that on the eve of a great campaign. The late Secretary of State told us—
We have always been able to maintain great elasticity in the supply of non-commissioned officers, and the Reserve is sufficiently large to enable us to make up the slight depletion which the promotion of these non-commissioned officers would occasion.
It is interesting to know that the promotion of upwards of 700 non-commisisoned officers was considered by the late Secretary of State for War to be a slight depletion of the non-commissioned rank.
§ I submit that I have shown that by Peace Establishments and War Establishments, and by the Army List, and by making the lowest possible allowance which common sense tells us must be made for temporary unfitness and for officers withdrawn for aviation work, there will be a shortage of 900 Infantry officers on mobilisation. There is one more addition to make. I note that by War Establishments one officer per battalion is required for the base overseas. On May 13 the late Secretary of State for War alluded to the time "when the Expeditionary Force would leave these shores complete in every particular as regards officers." Consequently 78 more officers must be embarked for this duty, giving a total shortage of 978 Infantry officers required for the embarkation of the Expeditionary Force. It is certain that the only plan which the late Secretary of State had for making good this shortage was an unlimited promotion from the ranks, oblivious of the fatal effect of such a measure on that vital third estate, the noncommissioned rank. It is true that the late Secretary of State for War believed on May 13 that the total shortage would be 666 and not 978. I beg to call the attention of the Government to the discrepancy between the figures used by the late Secretary of State for War in this House and the figures published by the War Office. It is certain that no profitable discussion on Army matters can be carried on in your Lordships' House or elsewhere so long as a Secretary of State for War uses one set of figures and the War Office another. I beg to inquire of the Government whether we may now calculate upon the figures as supplied by the War Office as regards shortage of Infantry officers and not on those used by the late Secretary of State for War, and to ask the Questions standing in my name.
§ Moved, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty for Papers relating to the Expeditionary Force.—(The Duke of Bedford).556
My. Lords, the Questions which stand in the noble Duke's name do not open any very new ground, as they deal with the two principal and main points which he mentioned—namely, the amount of deficiency which has to be made up on mobilisation owing to the difference between peace establishment and war establishment, and the methods which are to be employed in order to make up that deficiency. Taking first of all Paragraph 4 on the Paper, the statement of the late Secretary of State for War is perfectly correct—that on March 1 last the actual shortage in the Infantry battalions of the Expeditionary Force, after deducting the officers required for Staff and extra-regimental appointments, was 666; and I think I shall be able to show that the majority of the numbers which the noble Duke has in his calculations added to the 666 had been already included in that number. Returning to Paragraph 1 of the noble Duke's Notice, the figures there quoted by the noble Duke were given in answer to specific Questions which he asked, and the deficiency of 575 at which he arrives through them is accurate; but since the date upon which they were given one subaltern has been added to the establishment of each Regular Line battalion at home—that is 74 in all—which therefore reduces the figure of 575. In addition, the figure of 1,998 which is quoted in Paragraph 1 did not include a considerable number of supernumerary officers who were awaiting vacancies in their regiments, into which they can be absorbed after vacating extra-regimental appointments for which they have been seconded. Therefore these two sources must be deducted from the 575. The total deficiency, including Staff and extra-regimental appointments, was, on March 1, 666.
In Question 5 (A) the noble Duke is perfectly correct in his statement as to the one subaltern per battalion who is to act as transport officer and the one who is to act as signalling officer. It is not considered that this arrangement will materially affect the efficiency of the Expeditionary Force on mobilisation, but at the same time it is recognised that the practice is not a desirable one and the matter is receiving attention. Passing now to Paragraph 5 (C), these officers are allowed for in the 666; with regard to 5 (D) the matter has somewhat changed owing to the formation of a separate signal service, of which the organisation has been 557 published in the Army Order of May 2. In this new service the place of the officers to whom the noble Duke refers in Paragraph 5 (D) will be taken by officers in the new organisation, who will therefore not be borne on the peace or the war strength of any battalion. Then I come to Paragraph 5 (E). Here, again, these officers are included in the 666. May I read the context which immediately preceded the remark quoted in Paragraph 4 of the noble Duke's Notice? The late Secretary of State said—The noble Duke spoke first of the deficiency of 600 Regular Infantry officers, excluding Staff, on the mobilisation of the Regular Infantry of the six Divisions of the Expeditionary Force. He asked what would be the deficiency, including Stall. My answer to that is that the actual shortage in the Infantry battalions of the Expeditionary Force on March 1 last, after deducting the officers required for Staff and extra-regimental appointments, was 666.The answer is, as I have said, that Lord Haldane was right, and that the 666 does include Staff and extra-regimental appointments.
Then with regard to Paragraph 6 (A), it is not considered necessary to make deductions on this account. The officers who would be unfit for active service would not be many in number, and of that number a large proportion, though not fit for active service, would probably be sufficiently fit to undertake the duties now performed by Regular officers with Special Reserve battalions, who in their turn would replace the officers withdrawn from Regular units of the Expeditionary Force owing to sickness. With regard to Paragraph 6 (B), this was dealt with by Lord Haldane in the debate of May 15, when he said—We shall have to recruit more officers to meet the demands which aviation is making, and we are proceeding to do so.The actual amount of the shortage is, of course, very difficult to estimate, because the Royal Flying Corps is not homogeneously composed of Regular officers, and those Regular officers who had to be seconded for flying duties in war would not necessarily belong to the Expeditionary Force. The Flying Corps, of course, contains Territorial Force officers, Special Reserve officers, and others, and there is also the fact that a certain number of civilians are to be enlisted direct as officers in the Royal Flying Corps. The question, 558 therefore, of the actual amount of shortage in this connection is somewhat in the air. But at present officers who are with the Flying Corps in peace are being seconded in their units. With regard to Paragraph 7, owing to the fact that a great number of the additions which the noble Duke has made have already been included in the 666 the figure 900 is obviously wrong; and with regard to Paragraph 7 (B), these officers have also been allowed for in the 666.
Now I come to what is really the second portion of the noble Duke's Questions. Leaving for the moment No. 8, I will take No. 9 (A), (B), and (C). The noble Duke is correct in these three statements (A), (B), and (C), except, of course, with regard again to the figure of 900 in (C). With regard to Paragraph 10, the number of 381, which is obtained by deducting (A), (B) and (C) from 900, is not correct because the figure of 900 is not correct. It is intended on mobilisation to promote a certain number of non-commissioned officers in the Expeditionary Force and also to promote a certain number of non-commissioned officers in the Special Reserve. Though it is not, perhaps, a very important point, the number of three in the Special Reserve which the noble Duke takes was really a hypothetical number in the late Secretary of State's speech, for if the noble Duke will refer to what Lord Haldane said on May 13 he will see the words, "If we grant commissions to three non-commissioned officers." The fact remains that a certain number of noncommissioned officers will have to be promoted in both the Expeditionary Force and the Special Reserve. As regards the Expeditionary Force, the number who will be promoted will be distinctly limited—limited, that is to say, in each battalion; and in no case will such a number be taken from any one battalion as would impair that battalion's efficiency with regard to non-commissioned officers on mobilisation. I may further state that although, of course, it is quite impossible to say which noncommissioned officers would be promoted on mobilisation, at the same time the commanding officer knows which noncommissioned officers he has recommended for promotion, and therefore it is open to him to take such steps as he may think fit, in order to place other non-commissioned officers in a position to fill the vacancies which will be caused by promotions on mobilisation.
559 The deficiency arises on mobilisation when peace establishment is suddenly changed to war establishment, and when the Staff and other extra-regimental appointments are increased. This is common to all armies and I am authorised to say that this deficiency can be met successfully so as to ensure the Expeditionary Force being fully complete with officers. But, of course, once this is done we are faced with a difficulty with regard to the Special Reserve—that is to say, there is a shortage of officers in the Special Reserve. There is no desire to disguise this fact. On the contrary, the fact has been so well recognised that machinery has been actually set up which it is hoped will gradually remedy this deficiency, but the machinery is as yet only in its infancy, and one must, therefore, be rather chary of judging of its results as yet. I allude, of course, to the Officers Training Corps, which was instituted in 1908. Endeavours are being made to induce members of the Officers Training Corps to take commissions in the General Reserve, and already some fifty gentlemen have agreed to do this, and this number will increase each year as more become available; and also an endeavour is being made to form a list of non-commissioned officers who during their service have been recommended for commissions and whose period of service elapsed without any emergency having taken place. These will form a valuable addition on mobilisation. At the same time there is no use disguising the fact that this shortage occurs in the Special Reserve, and the Secretary of State has asked me to-day to express the gratification with which he heard the statement of Mr. Wyndham in another place last night, in which he said—I beg the Government to address itself, and I promise it the support of the Opposition if it does address itself, to making up the deficiency in the Special Reserve.And, of course, any such expression of opinion in your Lordships' House would also be welcomed. But before leaving this question of the Special Reserve, may I quote a few figures to show what are really the potentialities of the Officers Training Corps? The strength of the Corps is approximately 25,000; 5,019 certificates A and 710 certificates B have been earned; 380 cadets have taken commissions in the Special Reserve of Officers, and 716 have become officers in the Territorial Force.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
How many in the Special Reserve apart from the Special Reserve of Officers I am drawing a distinction between the officers belonging to Special Reserve battalions and officers of the Special Reserve who are attached to no unit.
I have not the actual figure with me, but I will let the noble Marquess have it later. It is anticipated that these numbers will be considerably increased when the Officers Training Corps has been in existence long enough for cadets to have fully benefited by it—that is to say, in two or three years' time. There are 18,000 ex-cadets who have not taken commissions, many of whom would no doubt come forward if necessary. A certain number of them would be fit for immediate service in the Territorial Force or Special Reserve, and steps are being taken to impress upon parents and guardians the importance of cadets taking commissions in peace time and thus being able to take the place of officers in war. In a word, the whole position is this. The deficiency in officers which arises owing to the difference between peace establishment and war establishment can be made up so as to complete the Expeditionary Force on mobilisation, but the making up of this deficiency will deplete the Special Reserve and there will be a great shortage of officers. In order to meet this new deficiency the machinery of the Officers Training Corps and of the other sources which I mentioned has been set up, and it is not possible at present to judge of the real outcome of this machinery. We must wait until it has really had time to be more fully developed.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
The noble Viscount the late Secretary of State for War accepted as substantially accurate the number of 600 as the shortage without Staff. Then he gave 666 as the shortage with Staff. That is an addition of 66. In every battalion one officer is withdrawn to act as a transport officer and one as a signalling officer—namely, two per battalion. That makes 156 to go out, without Brigade and Divisional Staff. It is excessively difficult to reconcile the figures of the late Secretary of State for War with those supplied in War Office Returns. Am I to understand that it is proposed to send out officers belonging to the Officers Training Corps with the Expeditionary Force?
They would supply the shortage in the Special Reserve, not in the Expeditionary Force. The members of the Officers Training Corps would go to the Special Reserve. On mobilisation it would not be necessary to take any officers from the Officers Training Corps. The deficiency could be made up from the sources which the noble Duke has himself quoted in Paragraph 9—with the noncommissioned officers whom it is proposed to promote.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
It is evident that the source by which the deficiency will be filled is an unlimited promotion of non-commissioned officers.
§ LORD AMPTHILL
My Lords, I protest against the repetition of all this humbug about the Officers Training Corps being a new force which has only existed for four years, and against this attempt to deceive the public into believing that they have 25,000 potential officers. Neither of these things is true. The Officers Training Corps is not a new force; it is only an old force with a new name. The noble Lord knows perfectly well that school cadet corps have existed for thirty or forty years, and that the Officers Training Corps is nothing more than the old school cadet corps, in which most of us have served and in which I have no doubt the noble Lord himself served years ago. There is no more reason why the members of this school cadet corps should join the Special Reserve or the Territorial Force than there was when he and I served in our school cadet corps under a different name. I do not think it is fair towards the public of this country, who have not the opportunity of knowing the facts, to pretend that the Officers Training Corps is a source from which we can draw 25,000 officers in the moment of emergency.
§ LORD HAVERSHAM
My Lords, I think some contradiction should be given to the statement just made by Lord Ampthill. In the first place, it is by no means true that the old cadet corps were the same as the Officers Training Corps. The Officers Training Corps possesses adjutants of the Regular Army.
§ Loan HAVERSHAM
The members of the Officers Training Corps have been given certificates for passing certain examinations.
§ LORD HAVERSHAM
And this summer they have been sent down to Aldershot and a large number of them have passed very creditably for Regular officers. It is all very well for the noble Lord to say that they are the old cadet corps, but we know they are not. They are very much superior; they are older men, and they have carried their military education very much further. As to the number of non-commissioned officers to be promoted on mobilisation, the figures given by the Government are—296 from the Special Reserve, 50 from the Supplementary Reserve, and 107 from the General Reserve—519 in all. The noble Duke says that in addition we should require 381 non-commissioned officers, but it appears from the figures that we require only an additional 81 and not 381. That is a very important correction. It is clear that though the noble Duke's figures are industriously prepared he has made mistakes by including Staff officers twice over.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.