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FUTURE OF THE VOLUNTEERS •

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FUTURE OF THE VOLUNTEERS • THE NEW REGULATIONS. VIEWS OF LOCAL OFFICERS. Even the latest phar, of the alleged politica.1 orisis fades in interest to a large body of our population when compared with Mr. Arnold Footer's speech at Hanlcy this week. The ques- tion of the IUTure of the Volunteer forte has loomed large in the public mind for many months, and has excited much d scitssion. The Army Council have apparently now made up their minds on the subject, and their proposals ft3 outlined by the War Secretary, have been hailed an the whole as satisfactory. The soheme is of vital importance to the force, and we recommend everyone to make 'hcmself familiar with it. Briefly, the effect is that in future attendance at camp will not be oompulsory, but the grants paid and the drills required will be eo arranged as to give every possible encouragement for men to go under canvas at I.oo,st for a week, if not for a fortnight. There arc also important ohangos forshadowed in organist ion, which as far as we have ascertained meett with unanimous approval. The great point which eeems to give special pleasure is Mr. Araokl-Fcrster's announcement that there is to be no reduction in numbers, as was at one time feared. We. understand ono of the local oorps were in danger of losing a con- I Bidejrablo pcrticn of their strength, arui a.re only too glad to have escaped. With a view of learning the feeing in looal Volunteer oirLlcs, ou,r representative has sought the opinion of gentlemen of high. standing in local oorp-j and representative of the d.fferent branches of the servioe. Of these, none is more qualified to express an opinion than our prerant chief citiaen, Major Robert Lamb. V.D., whose long conization with the Flintshire Engineers, and the well-known fact that tue servioo has a warm plaoe in his heart, make his opinions well worthy of consideration. Our representative had. the pleasure of a long conversation with h:s Worship yesterday (Friday) morning. APPROVED BY THE MAYOR. The scheme of the Army Council met with. his warm approval in every respect. The financial question he had not gone into, but he was glad to sec that camps were not to be compulsory, but at the same time every man ought to go to camp for as long a period as possible. We suggested the question of organisation, and it waa here we found the Mayor most oordially in sympathy with tihe new regulations. His Worship informed us he had always been of the opinion that the Volunteer force should be or- ganised into brigades "Volunteer camps should be formed together with regiments of regulars," ho said. "You cannot, tell the immense value it is to Volunteers to work alongside the regu- lars. When a man finds himself alongside men of the regular army Jzo has all the greater induce- ment to pull himself together. It is a good thing for both branches of the service, espeoially for Volunteers." Major lainb proceeded to illustrate this state- ment trom hw own personal experiences. "When Wi.) were down at Aldershot," he'said, "the Royal Marine Engineers wc-re there, and our men uoed to turn out every morning to see them drill. It was the hnost. possible thing for our man. Then when we were at pontoon work on the Medway oar commanding officer was asked what he wanted us to do. He said, 'Just what- the regulars are going to do,' and wa did it. It was far better for our men than looking on and watching the regulars at work." "Do you think it will also be an attraction to the wo asked. "Most oeitainly. It will be a great attraction. and it will make, them more efficient if they are associated more with line battalions." At this point other matters were requiring the attention or Ue Mayor, and our representative had time for one final question. "Then the whole scheme has your approval?" —"Dceidedly; it is a step in. the right direction," was the emphatic reply. THE FINANCIAL ASPECT. Our reprersentativa also sought the opinion of a rceantly retired colonel ot an important Voiun- teer infantry battalion. He arpoved of the pro- posals in principle, but speaking for his own corps, he thought, tiiey would be much worse off financially. Ho agreed with the proposal to re- ducIU the oarmatioa grants to men who did not go to camp, but he -,it.,d the additional grants offered for those who did attend would not balance iho loss on the other sid3. On the one hand. the officers had less control over the men in getting them to attend camp, but on the other ¡Ù. there was the .c:troiig inducement to escape tlio 30 drills. If a man attended camp for a fort- night, he oouid record the necessary number of drills for cflicleney during that fortnight alone. This is open to the objection that officers do not want to teach the men their work when they get th,m to camp. They expect them to loam it at drill beforehand, and (o put in:o practice at camp what tr.sy have already learnt. VIEW OF THE ARTILLERY. A successful artillery officer expressed to us his warm approva; of the new system of camps. In his op:nion tho w-rx-ldy camps, which have been in force with the majority of Volunteer battalions iu the country, are of little use. To quote Mi*. Arnold-Forster, a fortnight in oamp is not twicc, as good as a week in camp, but three or four times <<-s good," we suggested. "Ci.'rtaiii'y. A fortnight makes the men much more efficient, and it is only by drilling them in a body day after dy that you can get them to work together as they should. A week is not long enoug-h." "But what will bo the effect of the roduction of grants for men who do not attend camp?" "The men who never go to camp are not worth much. You cannot make men properly effici-ent unless you can ddU them day after day." "Do you agree with tho regulation whereby men will be able VI. qualify- by a fortnight ui camp without attending any other drills before- hall d "It is much better to have the men in camp than to drill them beforehand' AN INTERESTING SUGGESTION. In further conversation, the officer with whom we were speaking. Slid he woruid be glad to see the Volunteers represented by staff officers en tho headquarter ot-afts of the great commands. It would thern a position they had never held befoie. and tUoy really needed someone to speak for them. Ho hoped the Army Council would see their way to carry out that reform. "My opinion has always been," he proceeded, "tiiat no Vc iuntee ? officer should hoid rank above that of major. In. very few instances are they really qualified for -it. The commands might be given to retired Army colonels, with the condition of course tha: they devoted their whole time to tho work, and did not visit their men only once •or twice a year. INFANTRY COLONEL'S VIEWS Lastly we sougivfc the opinion of another colonel recently retrn?d from the command of a Welsh Volunteer regiment Liko his fello>v- officers. he quite agreed it was a step. in the right direction. He thought it would bo an ex- cellent thing if it was carried out as Mi*. A nold- 1 Forstcr had outlined the scheme. Tho quest/on was, "How would the capitation grants affect the finances of Vo'r.nreer corps." Those few regi- ments which had been drilling in camps with regulars would receive less money, while the main body would get mo-e assistance. If the object was to reduce the grants to the few exceptional ootps to increase tho general standard of efficiency, it was a good step How the matters of pounds shilhngs and pence would work out could only be tc:d from experience. We asked the oolono] how he regarded the pro- posed changes in organisation. "They ought to have boor, made years ago. The Volunteer force is piactically organised in bri- gades. but the commiandcrB were constantly changed and naturally took little interest in the work. It will be an excellent thing to have a permanent commander and brigade major." The interview ended, the colonel expressing the hope that the Army Council would carry out their proposals a; tbay had been sketched by tho War Secretary.

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