§ LORD TEMPLEMORE rose to call attention to the state of recruiting in the Territorial Army, and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, those members of your Lordships' House who ask questions on matters connected with the Army or Navy are in a fortunate position. In my opinion this House was not treated too generously when the offices of the present Government were distributed last November, and questions concerning most Departments have to be answered by noble Lords who are not directly responsible for those Departments. Not that their answers are any the worse for that., and after the exceedingly able exposition of the noble Lord who replied for the Ministry of Health this afternoon it would be most ungracious on my part to suggest anything of the kind. But it is an excellent thing that in this House we have direct representatives of the War Office and the Admiralty in the persons of the two noble Lords who act as Under-Secretary of State for War and Civil Lord of the Admiralty respectively.
§ The question I raise this afternoon is a matter of very great importance, and more important now than it was before the Great War, for reasons which I will refer to later. In raising it I need not say that I have no desire to embarrass the Government. I desire to help them—and I raise it for another reason. In his speech just now the noble Viscount, Lord Haldane, said that he thought it was a good thing that matters relating to local government and the like should be debated frequently in this House. I agree, and I think that matters concerning the Forces of the Crown should be debated at frequent intervals in your Lordships' House. After these few preliminary observations I will pass at once to the point I wish to make.
§ I take, first of all, the figures I find on page 94 of the General Annual Report of the British Army, which was issued with the Army Estimates this year. I find that in 1913 the establishment of the Territorial Army of Great Britain was 312,400, and the strength was 245,779. In 1922 the establishment was 179,622, and the strength 134,769. In 1923 the establishment was 180,089, and the strength 140,626. In 1924 the establishment was 180,132, and the strength 142,804. I take 244 next the figures on pages 120 and 121 of the same Report, which give the increases and decreases of other ranks of the Territorial Army—the figures I have given refer to all ranks. For the year ended September 30, 1924, I find that the total increase from all causes was 36,606, and the total decrease 34,277, which gives a net increase for the year of 2,029. That is apart from an increase of 5,946 in the year 1922–23, and of 562 for the year 1921–22.
§ At the risk of wearying your Lordships—this is a very important point—I will take some more figures which will be found on page 90 of the General Annual Report, which gives the strength and establishments of certain Territorial Divisions that I have picked out. I find that the strength of the Territorial Army Division appears to vary a little in different Commands. I think that the figures vary in the Royal Corps of Signals but the variations are not material, and accordingly I take the establishment of a Division as 400 officers and 10,150 other ranks. I find that on October 1, 1924, the 51st (Highland) Division of the Scottish Command had a strength of 329 officers and 9,201 other ranks: the 50th (Northumbrian) Division of the Northern Command had 333 officers and 8,540 other ranks: the 48th (South Midland) Division had 338 officers and 7,721 other ranks. I then come to the London Divisions which are given together, the 56th and the 47th. They had, on October 1, a strength of 637 officers and 13,773 other ranks, which gives an average for each division of 318 officers and 6,886 other ranks. I come to the 44th (Home Counties) Division of the Eastern Command, with 336 officers and 7,430 other ranks, and to the 54th East Anglian Division of the Eastern Command, with 318 officers and 8,130 other ranks.
§ I now pass to the strength at May, 1925, taken from the last figures that I have. I find there that the Highland Division, taking other ranks only (the officers do not change much in any division), have a strength of 9,292, an increase of 91; the 50th (Northumbrian) Division have 9,658, an increase of no less than 1,118, which is most creditable and makes it the leading division in Great Britain; the 48th Division have 7,833, an 245 increase of 112. I come to the other side of the picture. The strength of the two London Divisions was 13,530, a decrease of 243, while the 44th (Home Counties) Division decreased by 361 and the 54th (East Anglian) Division by 147.
§ I think that these figures show that the Territorial Army is only just holding its own, if it is doing that, and, unless recruiting becomes a good deal better, I have reason to think that we shall again finish up on October 1 somewhere about 35,000 or 36,000 men below establishment. I had figures given to me just before I entered the House with which I will not weary your Lordships but which indicate that 5,000 recruits enlisted in June. That, of course, is very good; but against that I understand that about 3,000 men—no doubt they were time-expired men—went away. I would point out to your Lordships that this is a very crucial year. When the Territorial Army was re-formed in 1920 and 1921 the bulk of the men, of course, joined. Vast numbers of men went away on the termination of their engagements last year and further vast numbers were due to go away this year. One question to which I should particularly like an answer from the noble Earl when he replies is: How many of those men are still to go away, and does he think that their numbers will be filled by the recruits who are likely to come forward?
§ It may be argued from the figures that I have given the House that most of the Divisions are not very bad and that a good many of them, like the Northumbrian and the Highland Divisions, are very nearly up to strength, while others are approaching strength, so that there is nothing very much to be alarmed about. I am quite aware that there are very good features about the recruiting and in various parts that I have quoted and others, such as Birmingham, for instance, where I understand that the battalions are very nearly up to establishment, the position is quite satisfactory. But I would remind your Lordships that the establishments are very low, compared with the establishment of 312,000 before the War. You have, I think, an establishment of 180,000 now, and you cannot even get that. The establishment of an infantry battalion is extraordinary low—only 20 officers and 636 other ranks. Some units are lamentably weak. I will take only two, so as not 246 to weary your Lordships with too many figures. I happen to be familiar with both of them. They are the 5th Battalion of the City of London Regiment, which on October 1—I have no other figures but those of the General Annual Report—had 16 officers and 312 other ranks, and the 7th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, which consisted on the same date of 18 officers and 367 other ranks. It is quite obvious—indeed, I know it for a fact—that, when all deductions are made for men away sick, for absence with or without leave and for a hundred and one other causes which prevent men from going out to camp, neither of those battalions went to camp much above a strength of 250 in one instance and 280 in the other.
§ I need not remind any of your Lordships who have the very faintest acquaintance with military matters that it is a most disheartening thing for a commanding officer and captains of companies to carry out what should be the climax of the year's training with skeleton units. I do not deny that the average Territorial is probably more efficient in his duty than was the old Volunteer. This is no disparagement to those gallant and patriotic men who, from the year 1859 and for nearly fifty years after, came forward and took their place in the, ranks of the Volunteers until the Territorial Army as we know it was formed by the noble and learned Viscount opposite; and, I must say, thanks mostly to his initiative, proved such a wonderful standby and reserve even in the early days of the War.
§ Here I should like to digress for one moment, if your Lordships will permit me, in order to pay a compliment to two noble Lords whose assistance in laying the groundwork of the reorganised Army was exceedingly important but, I think, too little recognised. I refer to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and to the noble Earl, Lord Midleton, whom I am glad to see in his place. The noble and learned Viscount opposite will rightly go down to history as a very great War Minister, but I think that he would be the first to admit that the work of those two noble Lords in the reorganisation not only of the Regular Army but of the Territorial Army greatly helped him in his work of reconstruction—I refer to the work that was done by those two noble Lords in the days before, during and after the South African War, 247 when we first began to organise our Army on modern lines.
§ I have said that the Territorial is probably more efficient than the old Volunteer, but, for all that, I do feel that the shortage of men is serious and the fact that, five years after the Territorial Army has been re-formed, we cannot even get the modest establishment of 180,000, is a serious matter which requires some explanation, and the House must remember that now we are in a different position to that in which we were before the War. Before the War we had a Special Reserve, we had a very strong Army Reserve, and the Regular Army was stronger than it is now. The Special Reserve was about 80,000, and the Territorial Army was about 245,000 the year before the War. Now we have a far weaker Regular Army, the Army Reserve is exceedingly weak, the Special Reserve does not exist, and we have a Territorial Army of round about 140,000 men.
§ What is the reason for the reluctance of officers and men, and especially men, to come forward and give the limited amount of service required in the Territorial Army? I have had a considerable amount of experience of this Force, because during the last four years of my military service I was on the Staff of the London District Command, and in close connection with the Territorial Divisions, and after leaving the Service I was secretary to the Middlesex Territorial Army Association. Very great efforts were made between 1920 and 1924. In 1921 Princess Mary presented Colours. In 1922 His Majesty graciously reviewed two Territorial Divisions in Hyde Park, and many schemes were undertaken on behalf of the Force. Lord Lucan, whom I see present, can bear me out with regard to what was done in the City of London; but in spite of all these facts, of all these hard-working and untiring efforts, the results were exceedingly poor. In the first place war weariness was adduced. I think it is getting a little too late to adduce that reason only. There must be something else. One reason that officers gave for not joining or, having joined, for leaving, was the expense in connection with camp and training. I hope the War Office have taken that into consideration, and I expect they have clone so.
§ Now I come to one important question which has a good deal to do with 248 recruiting, although those mentioned are not directly concerned with the matter. I refer to the question of the Terrfitorial Army Brigadiers. Are the Army Council quite certain that they always get the best men I know it is a delicate question, because it might be thought that I was attacking these distinguished officers and their capability, but nothing is further from my thoughts. I know that the greater number of the senior officers of the British Army are second to none in their military capacity, but it by no means knows that an officer who has reached the rank of Colonel, and who is possibly sent from the staff of the War Office to command a Territorial Army Brigade, is the best man for the job. A Territorial Army Brigade in time of peace is peculiar and requires peculiar qualities in its Brigadier. Those who know the Territorial Army will agree with me as to that. Another thing which I should like to mention is that these Territorial Army Brigadiers, to whom I have been referring, suffer from a reduction of emolument, because if, say, a colonel leaves a first-grade appointment in the War Office for a Territorial Brigade, he at once drops from £1,400 to £900 a year. I think that is a matter to which the War Office might give very careful consideration.
§ There is one other important matter which does not bear directly upon what I have been saying, but as I have given private notice to the noble Earl that I was going to raise the matter I hope he will make no objection. It refers to the enlistment of men for the Technical Reserve. As the House is aware, about a year ago it was decided to enlist tradesmen and skilled artisans for a Technical Reserve, to take their places, I think, in the Territorial Army and also the Regular Army, in an emergency. For some reason this move was strongly objected to by a great many of the trade unions, especially. I think, by the National Union of Railwaymen. A good deal of correspondence passed and meetings took place, and I think the last we heard of it was that in his speech on the Army Estimates the Secretary of State for War, in another place, said he intended to get these men, he hoped with the help of the trade unions, but if necessary without them. I should like to hear from the noble Earl what has 249 happened, and whether men are forthcoming for this Technical Reserve.
§ Now, criticisms such as I have made without suggestions are of no use, and I am going now to advance three suggestions which I hope may be of use to the War Office and the Government. Firstly, I think you have got to realise that the Territorial Army, thanks to causes which I have mentioned—the absence of the Militia and the Special Reserve and the smallness of the Regular Army—has become of greater importance than ever, and you ought to try to raise its status in every way. I should begin by raising the status of the head of the Territorial Army. I should like to see the Director-General on the Army Council. I am aware that the Territorial Army is the special province of the Under-Secretary, who, I dare say, discharges his duties well and sympathetically, but I do think that something more is required, and that the military head of the Territorial Army should be on the Army Council as well. If the noble Earl will forgive me, I would remind him that he was absent at Geneva for about two months earlier in the year, no doubt on very important national business, but hardly on business connected with his position at the War Office, and one rather wonders what guardian angel looked after the interests of the Territorial Army during his somewhat protracted absence.
§ My second suggestion is that from a certain date—it would not affect existing positions—no officer should be appointed to the command of a Territorial Army Brigade, or to the Directorate of the Territorial Army in the War Office, who had not either served as adjutant of a Territorial unit in time of peace, or served on the Staff of a Territorial Army Division. The third suggestion is that there should be a thorough canvass of employers. I do not know whether the War Office have carried out one already—rather think there was one a few years ago—but I should like to see another, and encouragement given to employers to form their shop or works units, such as companies, batteries or platoons. I do not see why we should not have a King's Roll. As you had after the War a King's Roll for employers who employed ex-soldiers, I do not see why you should not have a King's Roll for employers whose men join the Territorial Army.250
§ I have tried in this debate not to exaggerate in any way or to paint too black a picture. There are some very bright spots in our Territorial Army—namely, Scotland and the North, Birmingham and, to a lesser degree, Lancashire. There are, in my opinion, some very dark spots—London, Bristol, East Anglia and the Home Counties. I should like to hear from the noble Earl when he replies whether he thinks that the Territorial Army is going to increase in numbers, to remain stationary or to decrease in numbers, and in the two latter cases what steps the War Office intend to take in the matter. Taking the figures again—and I do it because they are of great importance—when I see that we have a smaller Regular Army than before the War, necessarily a smaller Army Reserve, no Militia or Special Reserve, a Territorial Army smaller by 105,000 or thereabouts than was the case in 1913, and when I compare that with our commitments, which seem to me sometimes to be rather overwhelming, I cannot consider the position satisfactory. We live in an age of gestures—at least I do not think we do now quite so much as we did a year ago; we are gradually emerging to sanity again—but although gestures and diplomacy may do a great deal they cannot excuse a nation for neglecting its armed forces.
§ Whatever power for the preservation of peace the League of Nations may be in the near or distant future, as practical people we should in these matters live in the present and see that, our land, sea and air forces are ready in numbers and efficiency to do what they may be asked to do. Sometimes these debates do good, sometimes they do not. I have tried to initiate this debate in a spirit of helpfulness. I have thrown out one or two suggestions which, although they may probably not be acceptable as they stand, may at all events form the basis of discussion. It is my earnest hope that this debate may help the War Office to elucidate this problem, a very difficult and sometimes disheartening problem, but one that must be solved—namely, that of providing sufficient and suitable officers and men for His Majesty's Territorial Army. I beg to move.
§ THE EARL OF MIDLETON
My Lords, the figures that my noble friend gave were exceedingly eloquent, but I think that 251 your Lordships will have been very much impressed with his concluding sentences, in which he pointed out that this question of the Territorial Army is not one which affects that force alone but which must be regarded in reference to the general commitments of the country. I do not propose to speak at large on that question, but I cannot help pointing out that we are at this moment in a position with regard to the Army in which we are not with regard to the naval forces of the country. In the controversy which is raging at this moment, independent members of Parliament are in one respect in difficulty because they do not know how far the policy of the Government goes, and until they know exactly what that policy is with regard to the distribution of naval forces they cannot, of course, be fit to judge of the necessity of the additional cruisers which ape, demanded.
With regard to the Army, unfortunately, we are not in that position at all. Everybody knows that the commitments of this country and its undertakings abroad are not less, but more, than they were in 1914. As my noble friend has eloquently shown our means of meeting them are exiguous compared with what they were in 1914. What is the position of the Territorial Force? In 1914 it stood third; to-day, it stands in the second line. In 1914 the Regular Army could mobilise six divisions and had a very large Special Reserve behind it as well as its own reserve. To-day I very much fear that my noble friend on the Front Bench (Lord Onslow) could not promise us that we could send six divisions, or even four divisions, to France. If necessary, we might send three. Behind that stands the Territorial Force and the Territorial Force alone; and the Territorial Force, as my noble friend has just shown us, is on so small an establishment that it would be impossible to mobilise one battalion as a battalion; you would, in every case, have to throw two battalions together in order to produce even the modicum of men who are required in the field. That is a most serious position. I am not attacking the Government. I know the conditions in the country, but I do say that it causes us to give the gravest possible consideration to the Motion which has been brought before the House to-night.
252 One other thing I think we have the right to say. It is quite clear that in the present state of the national finances the offering of further inducements to the Territorial Army will present a difficulty, if they are to take the form which a large number of Territorial officers regard as necessary—namely, some bonus or retaining fee offered to those who undertake the very great liability which the Territorial Force now undertakes. If such a bonus or retaining fee is to be provided it can only be provided by drastic economy in some other direction.
The position of the Secretary of State for War and the civil side of his Office is one of the greatest possible responsibility at this moment, and I must say that I was astounded, and I believe your Lordships would be astounded—nay, I was more, I was disturbed, to hear that, with the Regular Army in its present condition, with the Territorial Force calling for an effort in which the whole force of the War Office, on the civil side especially, must be engaged, it is in contemplation, if the newspapers are correct, that the Secretary of State for War, for the first time in living memory, should leave this country for several months in the autumn, at the very time when the Estimates are being considered, when, if there are to be drastic cuts, they must be, made, when, if there is to be a demand upon his colleagues for the Territorial Force, that demand must be pressed. Yet at that very moment it is proposed, for really no reason of public advantage that I can imagine, that the Secretary of State for War should be absent for some months from this country. I sincerely hope that that project, if it has been entertained, will be abandoned. I appeal to the head of the Government, I appeal to the noble Marquess who leads this House, the representative of the head of the Government, that this ususual course should not be taken at a time when we are really not in a condition, as far as the War Office is concerned, to fulfil any one of the engagements which His Majesty's Government have recently entered into. I say that with a full sense of responsibility.
Those of us who have served at the War Office—and I served there in various capacities for twelve years—know that it takes years to raise the standard of a particular force. You may lay down larger establishments. You may ask 253 for larger quantities of equipment and ammunition; but in the present condition of the finances of this country you will not be able to carry that out in a hurry. In regard to the Territorial Force, if the Government decide to offer special inducements to men to join and to adopt the various suggestions made by the noble Lord, Lord Templemore, it will be years before they can come fully into effect and before their full advantage will be felt. Therefore, I would ask the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, to tell us that all the efforts of the office which he represents will be applied this autumn in a determined endeavour to relieve us from a state of things which I venture to say is dangerous to the country. Then, in regard to the figures, the more your Lordships study them the more astonished you will be that there should be a reduction of the forces at a time which might become one of great difficulty.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Templemore, has made suggestions to the War Office in regard to recruiting for the Territorial Force, but I very much doubt whether there is anything more they can do than they are doing. My experience is that they encourage recruiting in every possible way. The Territorial Army to-day has three chief enemies—women, trade unions and motor bicycles. So far as the women of this country are concerned, not only do they resent their husbands and lovers spending their week-ends and evenings in soldiering instead of going out with them, but there is no doubt that since the War a great many women have got it into their heads that a man who joins the Territorial Army is running an imminent risk of being killed; and they naturally dislike the idea of their husbands and lovers being killed in the near future. It is very unfortunate that they should have such an idea but they have it and it has to be reckoned with.
In regard to the motor bicycle, it is worth while remembering that in pre-War days the only way that the average young man had of getting out into the country was by joining the Territorials. He now finds it much easier, and from his own point of view more amusing, to ride a motor bicycle and get into the country by that means. In regard to recruiting I think the Government do everything they can to encourage employers to 254 encourage their men to join the Territorial Forces. I think that most employers do all they can to encourage their employés to join the Territorials. No doubt the giving of more money to the Territorials would encourage recruiting still further, but that is not at present within the power of the War Office.
My Lords, before the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, replies on behalf of His Majesty's Government, may add a few remarks upon this important subject? I happen to be a member of a Territorial Association and I have had a good deal of experience of recruiting. I think that the War Office might take this further action to encourage recruiting. They should organise a campaign of publicity in regard to the Territorial Army. There can be little doubt that up and down the country the importance of the Territorial Army and the functions it is now called upon to perform in its reorganised condition have not come home to a vast number of citizens of this country. I do not wish to detain your Lordships, but I should like to repeat the words which fell from the Secretary of State for War during the present year concerning those functions of the Territorial Army. From his place in the other House and in his appeal to the County Territorial Associations, the Secretary of State, having taken the unprecedented step of meeting the Council of the Territorial Associations, accompanied by my noble friend Lord Onslow, emphasised the importance to the realm of the duties fulfilled by the Territorial Army, in defending our homes and in regard to Imperial defence. He said that the Territorial Army should be the accepted medium of the expansion of the Imperial forces of the country; that it was not on all fours with the Territorial Army as we regarded it before the War. He also said that on mobilisation the units of the Territorial Army would be brought up to their full strength, that is, their war strength, and that each division would throw off another division.
I have no wish to repeat the figures that have already been placed before the House. They speak for themselves. They speak still more eloquently, I venture to think, when we know and appreciate the fact that while we have not yet raised the peace establishment of 255 the Territorial Army, in the event of mobilisation the war strength would have to be completed and after that the War Office would have to see that the divisions were duplicated. Surely the implications of that are clear—namely, that it is more important perhaps than anything else to ensure in the Territorial Army at present a peace establishment of very highly-trained noncommissioned officers, capable of giving the training which would be essential if the schemes I have indicated are to be carried out. I venture, therefore, to thank the noble Lord, Lord Templemore, for bringing this subject before your Lordships this afternoon. There are many noble Lords connected with County Territorial Associations who will be glad of the opportunity he has afforded them of discussing this matter, and I hope that your Lordships may hear something encouraging from my noble friend Lord Onslow.
May I add one or two suggestions to those made by the noble Lord, Lord Templemore? First of all I should like to recommend a campaign of publicity in regard to the Territorial Army throughout the country both in the public Press and also indirectly by the War Office through the means they have at their disposal. There are a number of small points of which those who are intimately concerned with the Territorial Army at the present time are aware and which cause a great deal of dissatisfaction, but I do not wish to embark upon a discussion of them. I would, however, recommend to my noble friend that just as there is now a Reserve of Officers a reserve of highly-trained non-commissioned officers should be formed for the purposes I have already mentioned.
I will take another opportunity of asking the War Office to see if they cannot do more to encourage the cadets. You have here a potential source of recruits not merely for the Territorial Army but, as was the experience at the outbreak of the War, at any rate in certain parts of the country, for the Regular Army. I would also like to appeal to my noble friend to carry out more actively the policy that has been adopted with regard to improving what is called the social accommodation of units up and down the country. This may not sound a first-rate matter, but it is a point which 256 does make, and has made, an enormous difference in many parts of the country. May I also endorse the appeal of my noble friend Lord Templemore that greater general encouragement should be given to the Territorial Army, and that the War Office and the Government should take into very serious consideration his suggestion that the Director-General of the Territorial Army should have a place on the Army Council?
I venture to think that the Territorial Army justified its creation under the able administration of the noble and learned Viscount opposite, to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for the Territorial Army. In the War it justified the high hopes that were entertained of it, and I would respectfully urge upon my noble friend and the War Office that they should, at any rate, consider the suggestions which have been put forward to-day with regard to helping the Territorial Army, which can be such a power for good not merely to the War Office from the military point of view, but from the point of view of the development of sound and patriotic citizenship.
THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (THE EARL OF ONSLOW)
My Lords, the Question on the Paper is one which deals entirely with the Territorial Army, but my noble friend Lord Midleton has, I think, traversed a good many other subjects. He discussed the question of naval policy, and, in fact, the general policy of the Government, and economy and the newspaper reports of the suggested travels of my right hon. friend. I am afraid I cannot deal with these matters, but I will refer to one matter which is not really in the Question. It is a matter that was touched upon by Lord Midleton and by my noble friend Lord Templemore—namely, the question of the reserves of the Regular Army. That is quite outside the Question on the Paper, but possibly it is germane to the subject.
The normal strength of the Regular Reserve is 113,702, and the actual strength on July 1 was 91,878, and we estimate that by April 1 next this figure will rise to 95,186. As regards the Infantry of the Regular Army our reserves are adequate. The deficiency which exists at present is temporary and is due to various short service engagements with the Reserve, which obtained 257 in the period after the War. The deficiency, as your Lordships will observe, is gradually being made good, and except in certain departmental classes we confidently expect it will disappear altogether in the course of the text five years. This deficiency would be reduced if the policy of premature transfer to the Reserve were adopted in future years. I ought, perhaps, to add that in order to make provision to meet minor emergencies, without a general calling up of the Reserve, Section A of the Reserve has been re-opened to admit 3,000 men who are prepared to meet the extra liability for an additional 6d. a day. Approximately 1,000 of these men have been engaged, and we expect to enrol the remaining 2,000 during the present financial year.
As regards the Territorial Army, the war establishment of the existing units of the Territorial Army, excluding officers, is about 317,000 all told, and the peace establishment is, roughly speaking, 60 per cent. of that—that is to say, with the exception of the anti-aircraft units and the coast defence units whose peace and war establishments are the same, the strength of the. Territorial Army on July 1 (that is the latest figure I have) was 141,550. Your Lordships therefore will see that we are short of the peace, establishment by slightly more than 34,000 men. I ought also to add that we are short by about 1,500 officers.
My noble friend called attention to various figures of the Territorial Army at various dates. I could not quite follow them all, but he certainly gave figures for dates in October, 1924, and May, 1925. The strength in October, 1924, was 136,708, and in May, 1925, it was 135,378. I ought to say that on March 31 it was 133,268—that is to say there was a falling off between October and March 31 and a slight increase in May. There always is a falling off in recruiting after camp, but in the spring of each year recruiting begins to increase in view of the camp which is coming on and this has been notably the case in the present year. The drop in the figures which I just quoted has also been accentuated by the loss of a number of men who joined when the Territorial Army was reconstituted and whose four years have now run out. The question which was put to me by my noble friend Lord Templemore about the number of men leaving in that way I am 258 afraid I cannot answer offhand. We could get the figures by asking each Command, but I have not them here at the moment. A certain number of men are dropping out now owing to the termination of their engagements, but in spite of that the present strength of the Territorial Army is 141,550 and that is the highest figure since its reconstruction. I think my noble friend mentioned that there has been a considerable increase in enlistments this year. He mentioned a figure for July of over 5,000.
THE EARL or ONSLOW
Yes, the first of July. The figures for the end of May were 6,241, so that both those months are, I think, very satisfactory. My noble friend called attention to the weakness of certain units in the London district and Home Counties and contrasted that with the strength of units in divisions in the north. It is difficult to give reasons for this. As my noble friend very truly said the north is better than the south. For instance, the 50th Division only wants 54 officers and 430 other ranks to complete the establishment. The 47th, again, require 83 officers and 3,811 other ranks, and the 44th (the Home Counties Division) 68 officers and 3,084 other ranks. The 51st (Highland Division) is not quite so good as the 50th, but it is very good. It requires only 66 officers and 853 other ranks. The percentages of the population who are serving in the Territorial Army is higher in Scotland than in the Northern Command, and the percentage in the Northern Command does not differ appreciably from the percentage in the Eastern Command. As regards the Western Command the figures given are better than the Southern and Eastern and London Commands. It is difficult to say what is the reason for this, though, as Lord Raglan suggested, motor bicycles, and so on, may be attributed as a reason why the figures in London are not so encouraging as they might be. Still, it is difficult to account for, but there they are.
The noble Lord, Lord Templemore, drew attention to the Supplementary Reserve. It is not part of the Territorial Army; it is part of the Regular Army, though its organisation is partly in the hands of the Territorial Association. I 259 do not think we need be too pessimistic as regards this force. It has not been in existence very long, and there have been certain difficulties and disagreements in regard to its formation and its recruitment. As regards its present state, the figures are as follows. Of the 7,957 other ranks of the establishment of category B, 2,541 have been recruited. The railway recruits are coming in satisfactorily on the whole. In category C. of the establishment of 12,682, 6,029 have been recruited. A charge has been levelled against this Supplementary Reserve that it interferes with recruiting for the Territorial Army. To a certain extent that was the case at the outset, and the attraction of this Supplementary Reserve may have operated against certain Territorial units, such as the Royal Engineers, for example. I have examined the whole matter, and I think the competition cannot be said to have been a serious danger to the Territorial Army.
There is another force belonging to the Territorial Army which has been recently instituted, and that is the anti-aircraft unit. These units are on the same establishment for peace as for war, but so far only about 33 per cent. of the establishment has been recruited. These units have only been established for a short time and they are handicapped in not possessing the buildings they require. These are now being provided and the units are becoming more capable of absorbing recruits. Your Lordships will remember that a recruiting campaign was conducted in London. This was a great success. It brought the strength of the London units to 111 officers and 2,153 other ranks. London, of course, is still short of its total requirements, but it is stronger than the other Commands which are to form anti-aircraft units. This, briefly, is the state of affairs as regards the Territorial Associations, and although I see no grounds for undue pessimism, yet the state of affairs as regards the numbers of the Territorial Army is not all that might he desired and the fact that the Territorial Army is not up to its strength is all the more important in view of the duty which, in the event of war, it will be called upon to perform. That duty has already been explained by my noble friend and in that regard he quoted what the Secretary of State for War said.
One of the main points was the expansion of the Territorial Army in case 260 of mobilisation. The methods of that expansion require examination in very considerable detail, and some months ago the Army Council appointed a Committee to examine this question. This Committee has been working very hard and is forward with its work, but it is not yet in a position to complete its report. Therefore, at the present moment I cannot give any further details beyond what was said by my right hon. friend on the occasion to which I have already referred. I think that as soon as the responsibilities of the Territorial Army have been definitely regulated, that is, when this Committee has reported and the results are carried out, when officers and other ranks know exactly what will be required of them in the event of war, we may hope for a considerable stimulus in regard to recruiting.
I hope that will be the case, but quite clearly we do not intend to leave matters at that. We intend to take much more energetic measures to bring the Territorial Army up to its establishment, but in doing so we have to remember—and this is a point which has not been mentioned by any noble Lord yet—that it is not only a question of getting recruits: they must be the right sort of recruits. Some years ago more attention was paid, I think, to quantity than to quality, and the consequence was that commanding officers found that their units required careful revision and the elimination of those unsuited for service in the Territorial Army. I think that elimination has been accomplished very successfully and to-day the Territorial Army, small as it is, consists of the best possible personnel. In that respect we cannot wish to see it improved. But in any attempt to recruit for the Territorial Army and increase its numbers up to the establishment, we must exercise the greatest possible care, see that quality is not sacrificed to quantity and that the high standard which now exists is maintained. I put this question of quality first. I think it is a sine qua non, and in that I hope I shall have the agreement of your Lordships.
In order to obtain the high standard to which I have referred, and which it is desired the Territorial Army should possess, it is necessary that a large proportion of the Territorial Army should attend camp. In this regard I should like to say how grateful the Army Council is 261 to the noble Viscount, Lord Burnham, and his newspaper for their generous and patriotic offer of a cup for the unit which has the highest percentage of attendance at camp. All such prizes, shields and challenge cups do encourage those in the Territorial Army and in this respect the Force has been fortunate in receiving gifts of this kind. The noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth, who has been Chairman of the Council of the Territorial Association for some years, intimated his intention to resign (a matter which is viewed with great regret by all) and he suggested that in order to mark his period of office as Chairman—I do not know that it is necessary to have any further mark of the tenure of that office, because he has left an ineffaceable impression on the Territorial Army—he should give a cup to be competed for by members of the Force.
But the question of going into camp is one which rests largely with the employers. I have had the pleasure of meeting numbers of patriotic employers who want to do all they can to help the Territorial Army. They point out, and with absolute truth, that they are faced with considerable difficulties in allowing them to release their employees to go to camp. They have to fight trade competition, there is the difficulty of the numbers of their assistants, and some employers are at a disadvantage in allowing their employees to go to camp as compared with other employers who do not do so. Again, there is the difficulty of people who are employed in seasonal trades, like painters and agriculturists. If camps could be held in winter it would be much easier, but they cannot; they have to be held at a time when people in seasonal trades want all their men.
At the War Office—I am glad to note that my noble friend Lord Raglan thinks that we are at any rate trying to do something—we are, in fact, trying to help employers in several ways. In the first place, we are trying to expedite the notice in regard to the places where the camps will be held, and when they will be held, so that employers will have plenty of time in which to make their arrangements. In the second place, we are examining the possibility of holding camps at different times in different years—in one year, for example at a time when it will suit the agricultural interest and in another when it will 262 suit more especially the industrial interest, and so on—and I hope that something may be done to make things easier for employers on those lines. I do not really anticipate an absolute solution in that way, because it must always be difficult for employers to allow their men to go to camp, especially in summer and particularly in seasonal trades, but we have certain other schemes in our minds which may possibly assist employers in this matter. They are not, however, sufficiently advanced to describe in detail at the present time, though I hope that in the course of the next few months we shall be able to make a statement upon considerably morn definite lines. I should like to say one thing about which I have no doubt and that is that we may certainly count upon the determination and good will of employers in letting their men go to camp whenever they possibly can.
We have been asked to-day what we intend to do—whether we intend to do any more or are content to leave things as they are. I should like to say emphatically that we do intend to make a very strong effort indeed to bring the Territorial Army up to its authorised establishment in the near future. It would be premature to go into further details at, the present time. I am very grateful to noble Lords who have made suggestions to-day and I hope that they will give us their assistance in the future, as well as other noble Lords who have experience and ideas. We shall be very glad to have the benefit of their experience and ideas. We feel, of course, that in this matter we must rely upon the assistance of the Central Council of Territorial Associations, and it is a matter of considerable satisfaction to us to know that the new Chairman of that Council who succeeded the noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth—I am referring, of course, to the noble Earl, Lord Derby—is one who has such very great experience in all matters connected with recruiting. We have had very valuable suggestions to-day from noble Lords who are interested in this matter. I need hardly say that those suggestions will be considered, as well as any other suggestions that may be made. We are determined to do our beet to bring the Territorial Army up to its establish- 263 ment and we hope that during the course of the next few months we shall be able to give your Lordships further information upon this point.
§ THE EARL OF MIDLETON
May I say one word in explanation to my noble friend? He spoke of my anxiety with regard to the Regular Army as being entirely apart from this question. I suggest to him that my intention was solely to draw his attention to the fact that these circumstances are well known to the Territorials, and the fact that there is absolutely nothing between them and the first line is one of the greatest relevancy.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
On the contrary, I said that the question of the Reserve was germane to this matter and that therefore I had the information at my disposal.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
My Lords, I think the interruption was a very relevant one. It is an important point, upon which too little stress has been laid in this discussion—the relation between the, Territorial Force and the Regular Army. But, first of all, I think that the House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Templemore, for having raised this subject. I think it is very important that we should discuss not only the social question which we were discussing earlier but the Service questions. We discuss them far too seldom and it is all to the general good that we should have sifted some of them over as we have done this afternoon. I have listened attentively to this debate and my criticism is that there has been a great deal too much arithmetic in it. The science of arithmetic is not the highest form of science, nor is it a profitable one to apply when you are dealing with the organisation and the recruiting of armies. If you want to get men to join the Territorial Force and to go to camp, do not imagine that they will be moved by considerations of whether they are to get 6d. more or whether they can extract 1s. out of you. Nor do I think that they are much disturbed even by the collocation of women, or trade union officials and of motor bicycles which the vivid imagination of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, put together.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
It was a collocation, and a very remarkable one, of which I have never heard before, and I doubt if it constituted a picture which often applies to Territorials going to camp. There is one way, and one real way, of getting people to recruit, and that is to put before them clearly what you want and what sacrifice you are asking them to make. The working classes—I have seen a good deal of them in connection with Territorial recruiting—are just like anybody else; they are moved by patriotism and high feeling. It is not a question of what they get but of whether they feel that they are discharging a really useful duty. In my time it was an obligation that was very frequently put before me that I should not go to India or to any other desirable part of the Empire, but that I should sleep three nights a week in the train, going about from recruiting meeting to recruiting meeting. This was very useful. The presence of the Secretary of State brings the most useful people about him and, if he goes among them, what he has to do is to explain very clearly what he wants and why he wants it. In those clays it was easy. There was at least the danger of a war with Germany. Many people were doing all they could to avert it, but we had to insure against fire and we were asking those whom we addressed to assist us in providing the premium of fire insurance. They understood that, and it was not difficult to raise six Divisions, and ultimately two Cavalry Divisions, for the Territorial Force.
There is no such prospect now as there was then, but there is another prospect. It was said in the course of the debate that such was the entanglement of our foreign policy that almost more than ever we required a large Army. I, on the contrary, think that there never was a time when, in view of the declarations of the Government, there was less justification for keeping up a large Army. If you try to do that, you will simply get a reaction against your Army, and that is just what you do not want. Your Army must be what you need. We have, I suppose, these five Divisions and a Cavalry Division—I can never quite clearly make it out, but I suppose it is that—and then, besides that which is sufficient for the immediate necessities that are likely to present themselves (Germany is not one 265 of them now), you have a second line Army, the Territorial Army, behind it. You must have that Army in a condition of efficiency and, what is more, you must bring home to the minds of those whom you ask to enlist in it that you have to get it into a condition of efficiency. They are quite capable of understanding that and of responding to your appeal, if you only make it quite clear. But let there be no distinction in kind, as there used to be in the early days, between the Territorials and the Regulars. All that kind of nonsense was swept away by the War. You organise your Territorials, then, as a second Army in every respect like the Regular Army.
It is quite true that their figures are between 30,000 and 40,000 short of establishment at the present time, but that worries me less than it worried noble Lords who spoke. I know that Territorials go through a short period of service but it is a period of service in which they become trained and as the result of which they will come back if a real appeal is made to them by the country. In 1914 the Territorial Force practically doubled itself within six weeks, and it doubled itself with men who were not untrained but who, if one can apply the terms to people who had been through only four years' training, were Territorial veterans and came hack to serve their country because an appeal was made. Accordingly the Territorial Force is always producing a reservoir of trained men over whom you can hold no obligation but who, as experience shows, are ready to respond to you if there is sufficient necessity.
Your proper course is really to explain the structure of the Force, and to make it clear what a real service people are rendering in joining it, and not to be afraid of the foreign, service obligation. Before 1914 the great bulk of the Territorial Force among themselves entered into covenants to go abroad, and they did go abroad with the utmost intrepidity. There was no necessity to give them large bonuses, and I do not believe there is any such necessity to-day. It requires an exposition to the Territorial Force throughout the country grounded, not merely upon arithmetic, but upon strategical and war-organisation, and grounded upon ideas which people understand much better than they did ten years 266 ago. I cannot help thinking that if distinguished people at the War Office—the noble Earl opposite might set the example—would go about as missionaries attending great meetings in the big cities and in the country, too, and preaching, not arithmetic but the gospel of strategical organisation in accordance with the necessities of the country, they would find a response, which would surprise them, from the working classes themselves.
I do not believe there is any difficulty in getting recruits and I do believe that in those who have passed through the Territorial Force you have a number of men who are sufficiently trained to be most valuable as a potential reserve. I am not saying that it is not, most desirable to get the Territorial Army nearer its establishment, and I was very glad to hear the noble Earl say that it is the intention of the War Office to do so. Although it is 30,000 or 40,000 short, that has no terrors for me as it has for some people. I am sure the difficulty can be got over if the War Office will concentrate upon organisation and. upon assuring the Territorial Force that it is treated exactly as the first line of defence. Then I am certain there will be no difficulty in getting recruits.
§ LORD TEMPLEMORE
In withdrawing my Motion for Papers, I beg to thank the noble Earl, the Under-Secretary for War, for his very full and courteous answers to my Question. I was very glad to hear from him that the numbers of recruits in April, May and June were so very good, and indeed they were good, and a great advance upon any results before. I should have been a little easier in my mind if he had been able to tell me what number of time-expired men were leaving, and if he thought their places would be filled by people coming in, but at this period of the Session I do not desire to press for figures. I was particularly impressed by the suggestion of the noble Viscount opposite as to treating the Territorial Army in all respects like the Regular Army, because I do not think that in these days that is always done. I do not think that the Territorials are always thought enough of, and I hope the War Office will take every opportunity now of letting the Regular and Territorial Armies know that that is the official policy.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.