29 JUNE 1912, Page 19

On Wednesday at the annual general meeting of the National

Service League Lord Roberts, in a speech marked throughout by a note of grave anxiety, insisted upon the necessity of applying the principle of universal military training and service within these islands, The following passage may be quoted verbatim :—

"We hear a great deal about the improvements that have taken place in the Army during the last six years, and how much better prepared it is for war than it was when Lord Haldane became Secretary of State. The Regular portion of the Army, as I have remarked on former occasions, is, in some respects, more highly trained, but I cannot admit that we are better fitted for war. The reduction of the Regular Army by over thirty thousand men is a most serious loss—a loss which will be felt more and more as the Reserve formed by Lord Midleton's three years' service men comes to an end. The Special Reserve and the Territorials number less than did the Militia and Volunteers in 1906, and I much doubt Whether they are in any way better trained. Nor have any stops been taken to carry out the strongly and unani- mously expressed opinion of the Royal Commissions presided over by Lord Elgin and the Duke of Norfolk, viz. : f That a Homo Defence Army, capable in the absence of the whole, or the greater part of the Regular Forces, of protecting this country from invasion, can be raised and maintained only on the principle that it is the duty of every citizen of military age and sound physique to be trained for the national defence, and to take part in it should emergency arise.'"