Skip to main content

THE WELSH OUTLOOK NOTES OF THE MONTH The War The war in all its horror is still maintaining its devastating course and we are apparently far from the early peace which the false prophets have been promising us for such a long time. We are still reading the effusions of the military experts in the newspapers but we are gradually coming to believe the opposite of what they say when they take a gloomy view of things we cheer up, and when they are optimistic we become serious. Colonel Colonel Churchill in his speech Churchill's on the Supplementary Vote of Speech Credit in the House of Commons supplied us with food for serious reflection. He openly accused the Government of failing to make the best possible use of the immense power in men and material which the Empire has placed at its disposal. 250,000 trained soldiers, he tells us, are occupied in cleaning the boots of officers and in ministering to their other personal wants. This work could be done satisfactorily by men who are unfit for fighting, and the officers' servants would be better employed in the fighting line. Then we have not drawn as we might have done on the resources of India and Africa. Out of the scores of millions in India we have only drawn 300.000 men. This is unfair to India and to Eng- land, especially in view of the great record established by the Indian contingent in France during the first months of the war. Economising He suggested that the man power Resources available might be much more economically employed. In a war at attrition it is not wise to hold to positions that entail immense losses in men when safer and stronger Positions can be taken up. "There were nearly JUNE, 1916 1,000 Englishmen who were every twenty-four hours being knocked into bundles of bloody rags and carried away to the hospital or to the grave." Then large numbers of unfit men who will never become efficient soldiers are being retained in the Army. In Colonel Churchill's opinion only the efficient and those who may be reasonably expected to become efficient should be retained. The others should be released for work for which they may be fitted. This would lessen materially the cost of maintenance. Sir Ivor Colonel Churchill's views are Herberts shared by other military authori- Views ties of high standing. Sir Ivor Herbert said that he considered that Colonel Churchill had never done greater service during the course of the war than by delivering this speech. Its effect would be to sweep away some of the clouds which hung over the debates in the House. What had been lacking since the beginning of the war was a definite policy with regard to the war, with regard to the armies we were going to raise, and what we were going to do with them. There had been throughout the war a great waste of forces through our adherence to what had been at all times one of the vices of the British army-that of permitting a constant drain from the fighting forces of a unit into the various services which in other armies were designated as non-combatant services. It was well-known that all the units at the front were woefully depleted. Our great weakness had lain in the absence of a directing power. We had been in the war without a Secretary of State for War." These are strong words, and they were spoken by a lifelong soldier. The gist of his criticism is that we have never had in this war the co-ordinating authori- tative presence of a strong and capable Secretary of State for War.