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CHESTER VOLUNTEERS' PRIZES.…

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CHESTER VOLUNTEERS' PRIZES. I OFFICERS AND NATIONAL DEFENCE. I MR. YERBURGH AND THE RANGE DIFFI- I CULTY. So-tre interesting* o^wifcnout-oiis to the diSQiLSSiou of tho important question, of national defence we-ro made a* the annual distribution of prises in con- nection with the- loaat corps of Volunteers at the Chester Town; HaU on Saturday evening, c,,i,,uiony was. kindly performed by the Mayoress, with whom came the Mayor. There were OjSO on the platform Mr. Robert \oiburgh, M P.. the Sheriff and Mrs. Ferguson, Brigadier- General Trotter, too Arohdea.con of Chester, Mrs. Hamilton. Lieut. -CoL and Hon- Col. Wilford N. ILoyd. commanding the 1st Cheshire Royal Garrisou Artillery (Vols.), Lie est.-Col. A. H. Tal- bot. LoauutuKling the 2nd VoL Bat. C-hes-hire Regiment, Air. ALfivd Mond, Hon. Ool. and Mrs. H T. Brown. Hon. Got. E. Evans-Lloyd, Hon. Col. T. 'J. Smith. V.D.. Hon. Major Mason the following officers of tl>e 1st C.R.G.A. Major F. J Bonnaiio. Major Hall, Capt. and Adjutant F F. Lambarde. Quartermaster-Major Fountain. Oapt. V. H. Dickson, etc, the following officers of the 2nd V.B.C.R.: Major F. O. Evans, Capt, and Acjutant Martin-Leake. Capts. Bromley, W. A. V. Chui-toa, A. G. Hamilton and W. E. Lina- ker, Lieuts, Musgrave and, J. Day, Capt. and Quartermaster Williamson, etc. Lieut -Ccl. Wilford LLoyd. reviewing the posi- tion and work of the local corps of Artillery, eard that in 19C4 the stwngth of the corps was 556; this. year ;t was 530, a diminution of 26. Out of the 530 men 526 rvi/i made themselves efficient by gaining the capitation grant. (Applause.) Out of 15 officers 14 were proficient, and all the sergeants were proficient. (Applause.) Those figures were extremely satisfactory. TWO camps were neici this year, one at Wallasey for the garrison, com- panies. and the other at Fleetwood for the throo heavy batteries. He- thought the camp at Fleet- wood was ideal. The executive arrangements and corauii^ariac arrangements were most ad- mirably canied. out by Capt. Lamba-rde and Quartermaster-Major Fountain, to whom they owed thanks. (Hear, hear.) The competitions were carried out as usual. The principal, namely, competitive practice and fire discipline, were won by the 1st Heavy Battery under the command of Major BonnaLie. (Applause) He happened to know that this battery attended most assiduously to their duties during the- summer, months; they tumed up regularly a.t drill in good numbers, and the result Was that when they went to camp they swept the-prize board. He was only boo anxious that the same battery, should not always remain at the head of affairs; and he was looking for- ward to seeing the 2nd and 3rd Batteries putting their shoulders to the wheel and ousting the 1st battery from its position. A little friendly emula- tion and rivalry wa.s a good tiling. Attendance at oamp was moO., essential; it just gave that finishing touch which, was so necessary to the drills and exercises which. had been learned during the cummer month-? in the Drill Hall. He did not think he should oome within, the range of politics if he mock- a few remarks about, Mr. Arnold-For- ster's last speech referring to the Volunteers. (Applause.) Mr. Arnold-Fcrster laid great stress upon attendance at.-camp. Trie pith of his ro- marks was that if a corpe wished to earn a sub- stantial c.apitation grant, then a. very large per- centage of their numbers must, attend camp either for a week or a fortnight, preferably the latter. But if members abstained from attending camp then the capitation, grant would be less than. it was at p<esent. Therefore it behoved all ranks to make great efforts to attend camp, and he hoped employers of Volunteers would be kind enough and generous enough not to put any ob- stacle in the way of the men attending camp. (Hear, hear ) Mr. Arnold-Forster also made another pronouncement which was of vital im- portance to the Volunteers, and would be re- ceived by them with great rejoicing. It was that the nunibers of the Volunteers should not be reduced (Applause.J Why the Government eve r thought of ttduu;ug, them he. was unable to say. He should have thought that the great object wouJd hare been to have put as many men through the rank"* of the Volunteer corps as pos- sible, in order that we might have had at hand a good reserve of men capable of using a. rifle and knowing what discipline meant. (Applause ) Tho finances of the,üo c-ocps wen in, a .satisfactory state. They wefe once more reconstructing the band, and he trusted ttiaf before long the band would bi able to make. a respectable show. They had also placed" a Morm tube rifle range in the Drill H. and therefore had done-in a email way what they could to support Lord Roberts's admirable rcheme. (Appiai».>e.) Some of them would re- member that throe-* or four years ago thore was a meeting- in connection with the National Service League in Chester. He (the Colonel) had the honour of presiding, and tf.eir friend and Mem- ber. Mr. Yerburgh, was pr-aent and spoke on the ocouJ.oti. (Appiaiuve.) The object of the League was to press upon the Government not that we wanted oouscription. whieh was absolutely un- suitable to t.he country, but th-at we wanted every man in oiiis country to have a certain amount of military training, so that- in caae of emergency we should have a large body ot men who knew what discipline wis and how to handle a rfte. Lord Roberts s scheme wa» identical. What Lord Roberts did not want to .see was, in oase of national euicigeuoy or invasion of this country. a large body of men sent to the front who had no knowledge whate-v-v of discipline, and whose rifles were ieally far rocre dangerous to them- selves than tho'L' enemies f ear. hear, and ..laughter.) What he would i ke would be to have not a few thousand men. but. two or three million men ready to support the Volunteers and Regu- lar, men who could place bullets—well,, some- where adjacent to the object they at. flMughter ) He frusted that Lord Roberts's scheme would .become law; and if it did. it would certainly be very beneficial to the Volun- ► teer force. and lie had not the slightest doubt that the- ranks of the Volunteers would be filled AO overflowing. (App!ause ) He thanked the kind friends and neighbours for having so gener- ciusiy subscribed to their prise fund. Their kind- ness was appreciated; aiixi t ik- money was not I thrown away, but was a. great incentive to ..t"" work and c-onaoqup?t!y extra efficiency. (Ap- p?ausp.) Lic-iit.-Colonet A. H. Talbot, speaking with reference to the 2nd V.B.C.R. first of ail re- marked upon the great loss which the Volunteer movement hud sustained by the death of Colonel Edwards. lie had also to express regret at the absence, through illness, of Lieut. ColonelSur- Lieut. C o?on??l- S ur- geon King, ximmanding the Cheshire Bearer Co They all wished him a speedy reoovery. (Hear, hear.) He was that night to have received lus long service medal from the Mayoress. (Ap- plause.) Another loss which the 2nd V.B.C.R. would feel, and would continue to feel, was the retirement of Colonel Sm;í.. who was with them for, he believed, thirty years. Colonel Smith was net only very popular but was full of tact, and he also was a very good soldier. (Applause.) He was thoroughly up in his work, and he kept them to theirs, and taught them how to do it. He (Colonel Talbot) felt he had a. hard pos'tion to a a. liar d po,;t.;cn to fill in foliow.ng Colore! Smith. (Applause.) The strength of the corps had been well main- tained duirng thie- past year. They had on. the strength 1,037. as compared with 1.033 1ast year, 163 men having joined during the year. (Ap- plause.) With regard to musketry they laboured under difficult es in having the range so far from them. The only available day for most of them was Saturday, and; the rangte at Altcar when they got there was very crowded, and hardly in a. condition to produoe effective shooting. They h<id all been trying to get a range nearer Chester, and until thev did so he could not see that they ocukl produce any great improvement in their shooting. He wzv- afraid it was only with the help of the Government that they could do it. They had an excellent SITE AT. BURTON, POINT, I but he was afraid the securing of a range so near was in the dim distance. Shooting, of course, was the main feature of the Volunteer's training. (Applause.) If he could shoct he oould take h's pa.rt in the defence of his country, which, he took itt, was what the Volunteer force was for-a de- fensive fore-. They all agreed that a few men who could sh-o-ot oould keep at bay a great number who could net. (Applause.) The Volunteer stood between thh; country and conscription. Not many years ago if conscription was men- tioned it was greeted with a laugh; to-day if conscription was mentioned it was not greeted with a laugh, it wao seriously discussed. (Hear, hear.) The only insurance against conscription was the Volunteers. (Applause.) It was gener- all, allowed that the youth of England must to a certain extent be taught bhe trade of the soldier. He must be taught the discipline of a soldier; and then he must be taught to handle a rifle and to be able to use it. As he had said, to join the Volunteers was to insure against conscription, and he would point that out not only to the rank and file, but also to employers of labour who, if they granted time to men to attend camp, insured against the loss of labour which conscription would entail. (Applause.) He appealed also to the class who supplied them with ofifcers. Omevrs for the Volunteers was a burning question of the day; they could probably get men if they could get officers. This year they went to Salisbury Plain for camp, taking 730 men. Much instruc- tive work was done, and they were inspected a good many times in their work. H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught came down and expressed himself very pleaded with what he saw. Sir Ian Hamilton ao inspected them. The Briga- dier commanding the 30th Field Army Corps had expressed a wish that the whole of his brigade should be in khaki next year. (Applause.) He had to congratulate Private Evans (K Company) on winning the gold medal. (Applause.) The best, shooting companies were G and and they tied at 73. C D and E came second with 72. The physical drill competition was won by E Company. I Company was second and B Com- pany next, and then K Company. (Applause.) The Mayoress, after distributing the awards, invested Corporal G. Outram with a long c-ern-ioe medal, and the recipient was cheered- Hon. Colonel T. J. Smith, who was received very cordially, proposed a vote of thanks to the givers of the prizes, who did all they could to aid the Volunteer movement. (Applause.) Mr. Chamberlain a few weeks ago said it was the duty of every Englishman and Englishwoman to do all be or she could to a;d the Volunteer move- ment. (Applause.) It waa impossible for every- one to join the ranks, and every member of the community in civil life could do something to help the movement forward; ladies especially could persuade their friends and sweethearts to join. (Laughter and applause.) As an old Volun- teer he could speak from experience as to how much they valued the handsome gifts that the prize-givers had provided. He thought with Cod. Wdford LLoyd and Colonel Talbot that the time would soon come when every young man would practically join the ranks of the Volunteers. (Applause.) It would hurt no one to put in the training that the Volunteers did at present. (Hear, hear.) He thanked Colonel Talbot for his k.nd remarks about himself, and he congratu- lated him on the splendid regiment he had taken over. They all Knew that lately there had been a mediaajl examination no know whether the Volunteers were fit for active service. The 2nd V.B.C.R. went throug.h that examination in camp. and it spoke well for the d.soipline of the oorps that there was not a single man made a murmer. (Applause.) Out of 1,030 men examined 171 or about that number were pronounced unfit through being too young, and only about 90 were mea?caily unlit for ærvlOe. That spoke volume, for the phy?que of the regiment. (Applause.) The vot? ?M?g been ao()rœd with acclama- tion, Mr. Yerburgh rose to respond, and wao re- ceived with cheers. He said he could assure them, speaking as he was privileged to do on behalf of the donors of the prizes, that they required no thanks, because they were only doing what little they could to further what they con- considered to be a most admirable cause—the cause of the Volunteers of this country. It gave aim the greatest possible pleasure, as he knew it did the other prize-givers, to hear such a favour- able report from Colonel LLoyd, and of his old oorps from Colonel Talbot. (Applause.) Every- one who had studied tho question knew perfectly well that what Colonel Talbot had said was quite true, that it was the Volunteers who stood between us and conscription. They might put it very shortly that it really waa in this country a case between CONSCRIPTION AND SUBSCRIPTION. (Laughter and hear, hear.) If we did not sub- scribe we should all be oonscribed. (Laughter.) He quite agreed with what was said by Colonel LLoyd and Colonel Smith with regard to the necessity of every boy in the country and every young man learning how to take his place in the ranks on behalf of xus country in case of a national emergency, not as a oonticribed man, but as a volunteer, able to shoot and with enough military training to enable him to pia-y a part in a cam, paign. (Applause.) That was the cause to which Lord Roberts was devoting the declining years of a very distinguished life. His lordship had become President of the National ServiceLeaguc, of which League 'he (Mr. Yerburgh) had the honour of being a member of the executive committee. (Applause.) He hoped it would be clearly understood by thoee who were rightly, quite rightly, avers,- to conscription that what Lords Robert. proposed, and those who agreed with him, was that we should so prepare the young men of this country that in time of national danger they would oome forward, as they would do from feelings of patriotism and love for their country, and be able to play their part like young men of other countries would do. (Hear, hear.) We all knew that for foreign i wervice we must always rely largely upon a volunteer army. We were all certain that if emergency arose our people would be prepared to volunteer; but we did not wish them to volunteer if they were unable to 6hoot and were absolutely ignorant of military discipline and drill. Referring to the value of shooting, he mentioned the book just published by Sir laa Hamilton, who represented our country with the Japanese Army during the early .part of the campaign, and nc quoted from the book two instances of valuable work accomplished by the superiority of rifle fire against superiority of numbers. They ought not to part that night without making up their minds with regard to the question of ranges. (Hear, hear.) As far as he understood the question at the present time, it w3ó that while the Government would make a Amall grant towards a. range, the Government was not prepared to give them the whole cost of a range. He could not understand, considering the enormous value the VotunteeM were to the country, why the Government was not prepared to pay the whole of the cost of ranges to the Volunteers. (Applause.) He would give those present a little nint. They would shortly have an election upon them in that constituency—(loud laughter)—and he should advise the Volunteers through their proper- representatives to put the question to their candidates as to whether or not they would press upon the Government the necessity of providing ranges for the Volunteers. (Applause and laughter.) They would both say "Yes," he was sure. (Laughter.) There was one ''th-P i- point. He understood that the grant, of 7s. per man that was given to field army battalions for the fortnight in camp was to be taken away altogether. He was told on high authority that this worked out inlea6e of regiments at something like E250 or ;C3W a year. He did not know the number of army volunteer battalions, but he understood it N-ai something like thirty. It might be more. Taking it all thirty, the sum the country had been spending on army battalions was then S9,000, which was not a very large sum of money. He thought they might again ask their candidates for Parliament to say whether they could not use th?ir innnence to S'?" thM grant renewed to the Volunteers. (Appiau?e.) He had one more point, j and to this he attached gr??at importance. We had b,?en giving the franchise to various clashes of the community. The police now had the franchise, and we might say the franchise was creneraiiv accorded to those who were serving the oountry. He couid never understand why a man who gave his playtime to the service of the country as a Volunteer, if he h?d no vote for other rea?MM. should not have a vote. (Appiau?.) He him.?e!f. ard ?e was sure the other candidate for Chester would be. was prepared to press upon the Government to give the Volunteer a vote in return for services rendered to the country. (Loud applause.) Hon. Colonel Brown proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayoress for .the honour she had done the Volunteer, by presenting the prizes. He said he was satisfied in his own mind that it would not be long before by some means every boy and every young man in the country would be in some r-hape a Volunteer. (Applause.) He was somewhat closely connected with education in the city. and he sincerely trusted that some steps would be taken by whioh every bov able to bear arlThi at aU would be trained in military met hods and a lso taught to idioot, because that would be the commencement of what he trusted in time would be a complete military system whereby all young men in the coèmtrv would be in the honour- able position of being ab', to do something at. all events for their country in time of need. (Ap-I plause.) The Mayor, in responding, joined in the regret which had been expressed at the loss the 2nd V.B.C.R. had sustained by Colonel Smith's re- tirement. He had had the opportunity of being associated with Coionel Smith for very many I v ni. ny years, and he was sure the who!e of the 2nd Battalion would be very .=»orry to lose his services. (Hear, .hear.) Aft-T referring to the death of Lieut.-Coionel Edwards and the illness of Lieut.- Colonel King, his Worship, alluding to the range question, said he had always held that the Gov- ernment had no business at all—it was an indis- cretion on their p-ari--tf-) have issued to the Volunteers the Lee-Metford rifle before they had provided ranges for the Volunteers. (Applause.) What, was the effect of these rifles being issued? Two-thirds of the ranges of the country were con- demned. The 2nd Cheshire had to go to Altcar r,?, !,ad to -o to Altear if they wanted practice at ail, and that meant a loss of time and expense. He really could not see how this thing could go very much longer without the provision of ranges by the Govern- ment. He was very muoh struck bv what Lord Roberts had recently said. His lord-hip. who had visited the battlefields of South Africa, had said that if the men couid have shot better the batt'es would have been won earlier, and many battles I would not have been lost. That was a very seriou. and important statement, and, coming from such high authority, couid not be doubted. fft- s i ncorf?l I He sincerely hoped the Government would pro- vide the Volunteers with ranges. Alluding to Colonel Brown's reference to his (the Mayor's) connection with the Volunteers, his Worship ?-aid he had completed his thirty-three years of service in the auxiliary forces, an d he hoped the fact might be an inducement to some young men to join the Volunteers. It would do them good. and they would be serving their King and country. (Applause.) With the playing of the National Anthem by the band an interesting meeting concluded.

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