I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of a batch of Yeomanry recruits who, on leaving London at 11.30 a.m. on 5th February and arrivingly unexpectedly at Aldershot, were told they were, not expected and must come again at six o'clock; whether he is aware that forty-six of them were placed in a room which could only accommodate twenty; that no rations were served out for twenty-four hours, that for fourteen days and nights the majority of them had to live in the clothes they came in. and that the kits were not served out to all until 10th February, the men having to eat their rations with their fingers; that this arrangement lasted for one month; that there was no discipline in the room, and only one parade at nine o'clock; that not one of these men was ever put upon a horse; and that these men were described in official language as having undergone one month's official training in riding and shooting; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be held into the circumstances, and take steps to prevent their recurrence.
The difficulties in accommodating and providing for so many Yeomanry at Aldershot have already been fully explained to the House. The general officer commanding has personally dealt with these questions, and informs me that very few complaints were received. I believe that every effort has been made to cope with the difficulties, and that they were successfully and promptly dealt with, allowing for the circumstances that some 10,000 men have had to be passed through Aldershot and equipped during the last six weeks.
Do I understand that my statements are correct?
Well, Sir, I cannot say. I have referred many cases to Sir Redvers Buller. A large number were found to be incorrect; and I think it is much better to leave the matter in the hands of the general officer commanding.
Will the attention of the Commander-in-Chief be called to this matter?
Yes, Sir. I have forwarded the letters, but it has been found that many emanate from one Yeoman.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why this class of recruits are called Yeomen, which is precisely what they are not?
Yeomen are mounted troops, and that is exactly the class of troops that these recruits are intended to be.