§ MR. MALCOLM () Suffolk, Stowmarket
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state how many reservists are destitute and unemployed in this country; whether he can say how many reservists have returned from South Africa, and of these how many have obtained permanent employment through 1208 Government bureaux; whether he will recommend that emergency works should lie started during the winter months for destitute and unemployed reservists of certified good character; and whether the Government, by grant or otherwise, supports or recognises any association for the employment of Reserve or discharged soldiers.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BROBRICK, Surrey,) Guildford
It is not possible to state how many reservists are unemployed, nor how many have obtained employment through various offices without calling for Returns. Even if these Returns were obtained, they would not be entirey reliable, as the men register their names in several societies, and when they obtain employment by means other than through these agencies do not intimate this fact, and therefore remain on the books. The numbers of mobilised reservists, men due for transfer to the Reserve, Militia reservists, and discharged time-expired men, amount to about 80,000. The Government support the National Association for the employment of Reserve men and discharged soldiers by subsidy, and supervise the regimental and other military associations. In order to prevent distress, reservists are being permitted to rejoin the colours, and remain until they can obtain employment up to a limit of a year. Six hundred and fifty-three have availed themselves of this permission up to date.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
May I ask whether the Government are prepared to subsidise all organisations for finding employment for civilians out of work as well as reservists?
§ MR. BRODRICK
The Government cannot subsidise all such organisations. The organisation mentioned in my answer was subsidised by the Government with the consent of the House, because it finds employment for men who have served the country in the field.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
On what grounds are special terms given to this organisation as against similar organisations?
§ 2nd Provisional Regiment of Hussars.
*COLONEL LEGGE (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state what cavalry regiments the officer recently appointed to command the 2nd Provisional Regiment of Hussars has commanded; and whether it is proposed in future to appoint cavalry officers to command infantry battalions.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The Cavalry Brigade which Colonel de Lisle commanded was drawn from the 1st, 3rd, and 7th Dragoon Guards and 14th Hussars. As regards the second part of the question, a cavalry major has been brought into the infantry regiment out of which Colonel de Lisle was promoted into the cavalry, and he will, it is assumed, aspire to command it.
Is it part of the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman that officers are in future to be transterable from one branch of the service to another?
§ MR. BRODRICK
No, Sir, it is not a question of the scheme. It is whether the Commander in-Chief, having found an officer particularly well fitted to command mounted troops in the field, is to be allowed in time of peace to be employed in commanding unmounted troops.