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Infantry Officers' Chargers

Volume 181: debated on Friday 23 August 1907

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To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the hardship occasioned to infantry officers who have to he mounted on parade, by the terms of the circular memorandum issued on the 24th July last regarding forage, calling attention to King's Regulation 903, and Allowance Regulations 151 and 606; and whether he will consider the necessity for the strict enforcement of these regulations in promoting economy, in view of the fact that many officers are able to provide chargers at their own expense for regimental duty as well as private use so long as they draw forage in money or in kind. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) In order to reduce officers' expenses, it was decided in 1902 to supply chargers at the public expense to all regimental mounted officers, and to allow them to use these chargers for private as well as military purpo es on payment of £10 a year, the horse so used becoming the officer's property after six consecutive annual payments at home and after four such payments abroad. At the same time it was laid down in King's Regulations that officers were to ride these chargers on parade, except in the case of private horses in their possession prior to January, 1903; and it was further laid down in Allowance Regulations that forage could only be drawn for public horses supplied for military or general purposes, or for private horses in possession prior to January, 1903. If the above rules were relaxed, the object of supplying horses at the public expense would be defeated, and I may add that no complaints of the working of the present system have reached the War Office. No circular memorandum on this subject was issued by the War Office on the date mentioned in the Question.