§ Lord C. BERESFORD
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether, in the event of a formal inquiry being held to inquire into questions connected with Artillery clerks, he will allow a small number of Artillery clerks, representing each grade of those whose prospects of promotion are involved, to give personal evidence of their views at such inquiry; (2) whether he is aware of the stagnation in promotion existing in the Artillery clerks' section, Royal Artillery, due chiefly to the fact that since 1909 warrant officer clerks have not been treated as eligible for promotion to district officer and the fact that warrant officer clerks are permitted to serve to the age of fifty years, whereas the age for compulsory retirement of the regimental warrant officer is forty-five years; whether at the time that the present warrant officer clerks adopted a clerical career, for which a higher standard of education was demanded than was required from the duty soldier, warrant officer clerks were promoted to district officer in their turn according to their seniority on a general roll of the warrant officers of the Royal Artillery; whether they now find that, notwithstanding that in several cases they possess educational and professional qualifications not attained to by any regimental warrant officer, they are being superseded by their juniors at regimental duty; whether this blocks the prospects of warrant officer 1047W clerks and stops the flow of promotion through the junior ranks of the section; and (3) whether, when further selections for the position of district officer are being made, he will inquire for and accept as decisive the opinion, to be based on personal knowledge, of the general officer under whom the warrant officer clerk is immediately serving as to the latter's individual suitability for promotion to district officer, instead of holding warrant officer clerks as a class ineligible for this position under a general ruling, or, failing this, whether he will cause to be instituted a competitive professional examination for the position of district officer, open to all warrant officers of the Royal Artillery, including clerks, and award such commissions in accordance with the comparative merits shown by the candidates at such examination?
§ Colonel SEELY
A Committee has been appointed to consider the question of stagnation of promotion in the Artillery clerk section and will no doubt take any evidence it may require. Prior to 1909 warrant officer clerks were promoted to district officer in their turn on the general roll of warrant officers of the Royal Artillery if recommended by their general officer commanding for such promotion. It was, however, decided that it was undesirable to promote those warrant officers who lacked the professional qualifications acquired by experience with troops which are necessary for district officers, and since 1909 warrant officers who have not had sufficient service with troops have not been selected for promotion. There is no intention of reversing this decision or of instituting a competitive professional examination for such promotion.