§ Captain BERKELEY
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the statement made by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff that it is impossible to obtain sufficient suitable non - commissioned officers to fill the 30 cadetships offered annually at Sandhurst; whether this unsuitability arises from defects in the Army educational system, or from lack of the power of leadership, or from medical unfitness on the part of the candidates, or to what cause it is to be attributed; whether he will consider the question whether the extension of the age limit by 1562W one year, together with an extension of the scheme to include non-commissioned officers up to the rank of corporal, would remedy the deficiency; and whether it is intended to persevere with this scheme of throwing open commission status to the non-commissioned ranks, or whether the statement of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff is a prelude to its abandonment?
§ Mr. WALSH
As my hon. and gallant Friend is probably aware, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff said, not that it was impossible to obtain suitable non-commissioned officers, but that suitable non-commissioned officers had not been obtained up to the present time. The Regulations on the subject were only issued last month, and the Army Council attribute the present deficiency to the fact that the scheme is still in its infancy. There is no intention of abandoning the scheme, which already includes not only corporals but lance-corporals. I do not think the extension of the age limit from 23 to 24 years would be desirable.