From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
[To the Editor of the "Spectator."]
Sir, — As a constant reader of your valuable weekly, I have been much interested in your consistent advocacy of the Volunteer movement, and knowing the practical interest you take in this movement I crave your indulgence in airing the following points. (1) Is it your view that the brassard is a necessary part of the uniform? (2) Is it with the sanction of the War Office that a corps of the Volunteer Defence Force wears all or most of the distinctive marks of rank used by the Regular Forces — e.g., chevrons on the upper arm in varied numbers, as also Sam Browne belts, &c.? (3) Would it not be within the purview of practical politics that the Deputy-Lieutenant of a county should be entrusted with the care of organizing the various unite of the force? The first of these questions is prompted by the inquiries of various members of the force, and by the editorial reply to a letter signed by "W. W. S.," in which you apparently suggest the brassard as an alternative to the regulation uniform as authorized. The third question arises from the fact that the Lord-Lieutenant of a certain county within one thousand miles of the Metropolis sneers at and despises the efforts put forward by hundreds of eager and patriotic people under his jurisdiction. In addition, there is a sensible growth of opinion among committeemen in the provincial districts that the Central Association is becoming leas and less interested in the Volunteer movement outside the Metropolis and its immediate neighbourhood; if true, and I am unable to vouch for it, I consider such action deplorable, and partaking of the want of energy and keenness displayed by a section of the public in this critical period of our national life. — I am, Sir, &c.,
A. C. D.
[(1) The brassard must be regarded as a necessary part of the uniform. The Government issue it as the distinguishing mark required by the Hague Convention to confer the full rights of combatants. The uniform is no doubt also a sufficiently distinguishing mark to satisfy the Hague Convention. The Government, however, hold that, as not all corps can afford to buy uniforms, they must maintain the brassard. (2) We cannot say whether or not the corps in question breaks the War Office rules. (3) Deputy-Lieutenants could not be better employed. Our correspondent may reassure himself as to the risk of the Central Association's turning into a London Committee. There is no ground for any such rumours. The Central is quite as fully occupied with, and quite as deeply interested in, the promotion of the best interests of the provincial corps as it is in those of London. - Ed. Spectator.]