§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
My Lords, I rise to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War: (1) If he will be able to lay upon the Table of the House at any early date after the adjournment for Whitsuntide the Return which was promised on the 5th May comparing the results of recruiting for the Special Reserve during the first four months in 1908, with the results of recruiting for the Militia in a similar period in 1907; (2) 1502 How is it intended to employ the services of Militiamen who elect to remain in that force until time-expired in event of embodiment. The Militia will have disappeared, and I am rather puzzled how to explain to the men under my command the nature of their service in a force which has become non-existent.
My Lords, I am sorry we have not yet been able to lay the Return for which the noble Duke asks, but it is practically ready and I can promise it to him immediately after Whitsuntide. As to the second question, in the event of embodiment, I take it that if their services were urgently required they would be attached for the time to the unit most closely resembling the unit of which they were members as Militiamen. Of course, they could not be sent abroad unless they volunteered to go.
§ THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
I would point out that such a proceeding would be against the Militia Act of 1882, and that is where my difficulty arises. The Act says that you must not—Authorise a Militiaman when belonging to one corps to be transferred without his consent to another corps; or where the corps of a Militiaman includes any battalion or other body of the Regular Forces, authorise him to be posted without his consent to that battalion or body.Section 5 of the Militia Act provides that—Where a Militiaman was enlisted or reengaged before the date of any Order or Regulation under this Act, nothing in such Order or Regulation shall render him liable without his consent to be appointed, transferred, or attached to any military body to which he could not without his consent have been appointed, transferred, or attached if the said Order or Regulation had not been made.I think the noble Lord will see the difficulty in which we are placed.
I think the passages quoted by the noble Duke refer to peace time, and not to embodiment in time of war.