London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
OBTAINING A COMMISSION.
It is not a difficult matter to get a commission in the Militia. A lad must know a commanding officer,
|must have a clean bill of health from the authorities of his school, and be generally a good fellow, and a sub-lieutenancy follows on application as a matter of course. I myself have had the honour of serving in two regiments-one a metropolitan corps, and the other with its headquarters in the country. My brother officers in both battalions belonged to the same class of men. In the town regiment many of the captains had been in the service, and our colonel had also, as a lieutenant, worn the gold lace prior to its adoption by the Militia. In the county battalion most of our men (like the rank and file) were country born. During the twenty-seven days of our training they were intensely military, and quite as smart as the majority of their brothers in the service battalions. I noticed that what may be termed the civilian officers (to distinguish them from their ex-service colleagues), were, as a whole, more zealous than their ex-professional brethren. When I first obtained my company, after some ten years' faithful service as a subaltern, a great influx of the recently-retired were drafted into the commissioned ranks. At first the newcomers took much interest in the proceedings of the men on parade, but when they found that Militiamen were a little slow in or they seemed to lose heart in their work, and became as slovenly as the men they had been sent to command. The native Militia|
|officers, so far from deteriorating as the training became older, on the contrary, gradually improved. They rubbed off their rust in the first week, and by the fourth were as bright and as sharp as newly-burnished needles. The civilians began at their worst and ended at their best, whilst the ex-warriors reversed the operation. Under these circumstances, were I a commanding officer of a Militia regiment (which I frankly admit I am not), I would prefer civilians to ex-soldiers. Possibly the fact that I was a civilian officer myself has made me take a prejudiced view of the subject. But I will not go beyond|