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Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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asked the Secretary of State for War why, seeing that establishments of the Regular Army, Home and Colonial, in 1908–9 were 169,114, and for 1914–15 are 168,500, making only 873 fewer to-day than in 1908–9, it was lately laid down that our annual requirements for recruits are now 34,700 for the whole Army against 37,700 in 1907; and why we need 3,000 fewer recruits to-day than six years ago for practically identical establishments?

I agree with the hon. and gallant Member that the establishments of 1907 and of to-day may be taken for the purposes of this comparison, as practically identical, but I must not be taken as endorsing the aggregates he gives for the years 1908–9 and 1914–15, which are fallacious, inasmuch as they exclude the Indian establishments, and they include officers. The difference between the figures 34,700 and 37,700 is to be accounted for by the improvement in waste in recent years, and by the alteration in terms of service in the direction of lengthening the term and thus reducing the number of recruits required