17 OCTOBER 1914, Page 13


" SPZOTATOE."] SIR,—I venture to write to you, as personal experience gained since the beginning of the war in connexion with the lodging of troops in tents, in billets, and at home has confirmed the Spectator's belief in the "home-boys" system. Whether a system of men living at home and training during the day could be well adapted under National Service has been dis- puted, but certainly at a crisis like the present its benefits are indisputable for certain classes of recruits. All the problems of blankets and warmth at night, of feeding and cooking, of discipline at tattoo and lights out, are solved ; multifarious duty men—cooks, orderlies, supply and stores fatigue, guards—are unnecessary, and therefore all the men can every day give undivided attention to train- ing and nothing but training ; further, the time and energy of officers and non-commissioned officers are not consumed by the thousand domestic details inevitable in camp or barracks. In the special case which I have in mind the men turn up cheerily for their various parades, and so far the " absents "—i.e., those late on parade—only amount to -5 per company per day. Drunkenness and the other difficulties which occur when men are away from the restraint of their homes have up to now been non-existent. In fact, a system of home sleeping and day training cuts many a military knot, and possibly experience gained now will help the nation to develop the Spectator scheme for national training at home when the war is over.—I am, Sir, &e., LANCASTRLAIII.