[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR:1
was glad to see that in your article on "National Education on the Physical Side" which appeared in the Spectator of November 19th you strongly advocate the mili- tary training of all boys. As Chairman of the Lads' Drill Association, I have for some years urged on the authorities the importance of this subject; and on the let inst. in an interview with the Secretary of State for War I put forward certain proposals which, if agreed to, would, I believe, go far to make this training universal.
At present the War Office recognises school Cadet corps so long as the boys provide themselves with uniform. The Government allow such corps a free issue of arms and ammunition, but owing to uniform being compulsory, and to its expense, Cadet corps can only be formed in the larger and wealthier public schools. In consequence of this anomaly, which practically debars from Government assistance all but the sons of comparatively rich men (with the exception of a few Cadet battalions composed almost entirely of working lads, and supported by private sub- scriptions), I proposed in my interview with the Secretary of State that ununiformed corps of boys over twelve years of age should be sanctioned in schools, and should be affiliated to the Volunteer corps of their respective districts.
It was suggested that Government should grant eighty rounds of free ammunition per boy per annum, and one rifle fitted with a Morris tube for every fifteen boys, and should also give facilities for masters to attend schools of instruction so as to enable them to qualify themselves as instructors to such corps, the grant of free ammunition and rifles to be dependent on the school having a suitable range.
Corps such as I propose could be formed in the smaller secondary and elementary schools; the elder boys on leaving the latter could remain members of their old school corps, and the masters would thus retain an influence over them at a period of life when it is most desirable that some such influence should be exercised.
As you are aware, the Colonies place great value on Cadet training, and I have lately received a most interesting report from the Staff Officer for Cadets in New Zealand. In this Colony a very similar organisation to that which I am suggesting exists. The Cadet corps are placed under the sole control of the Educa- tion Department, a Staff Officer being attached to this Department to supervise the training; this officer is responsible to the Minister of Education. The Government of New Zealand allows a capitation grant of 2s. 6d. per annum for every Cadet who has completed the requisite number of drills. The Education Board supplies free of charge one model rifle and waistbelt for each Cadet, one miniature rifle for every ten Cadets, and fifty rounds of ball cartridge per annum per Cadet. Uniform is not essential.
In a letter to the Staff Officer for Cadets, the Premier of New Zealand writes that "it would be difficult to lay sufficient stress on the importance to be attached to the Cadet movement in the Colony."
—I am, Sir, &e., MEATH, 83 Lancaster Gate, London, W.
[We heartily endorse Lord Meath's scheme. The refusal of
the War Office to help or sanction Cadet corps without uniforms is characteristically stupid. If, however, our pro- posal for compulsory physical training of a military nature were to be adopted, the training would be given under the Education Act, and could not be ruined by War Office fatuities in regard to uniforms.—En. Spectator.] DRILL IN CONTINUATION SCHOOLS.