Last night the Ashburton Rifles were inspected by Major-General Davidson, who is now making a tour of inspection round tho Volunteer depots of the colony. The company assembled at half-past six at the parade ground, when 33 of all ranks answered roll call. These included Captain Bullock and Lieutenant Douglas, and a fair sprinkling of non-commissioned officers, but there were no less than 23 members of the corps absent without leave, and only five had obtained the regimen I al permission to be away from duty. This is to be accounted for by the short notice that was given of the General’s coming, and the fact that the holiday had drawn a large number to Christchurch, while several enthusiastic Good Templar members who had promised to take part in the
anniversary celebration of tlieir lodge, elected to f-jlfil their promises. After an hour and a half of strict drill under Sergt.Instructor Dolman, the company, headed by the band of the corps, under Bandmaster Savage, were marched to the Commercial Hotel, which the General had made his temporary head-quarters. In front of the hotel the manual exercise and some diffi cult movements in company drill were gone through before General Davidson,' who expressed his pleasure and surprise at the efficiency displayed by the corps, considering that it had only been a few months embodied. The General’s surprise was heightened when he learned that the only instructions the company had received were given by Sergeant Dolman, who has only a Volunteer training. Major-General Davidson felt so sure that Sergeant Dolman had been military bred that he asked him to what arm of the service he had originally belonged. He paid a high and well-deserved compliment to the sergeant, for the manner in which he drilled the Volunteers, and expressed his gratification that they possessed so efficient an instructor. AVe might here add that the efficiency of the corps is as much due to Sergeant Dolman’s tact and popularity, as it is to his excellent qualities as a drill ; in fact, but for the possession of Sergeant Dolman’s regular and ever available services, the corps would to-day present but a very sorry appearance, both in numbers and drill. As it, is the town has no reason to feel other than proud of its little band of soldiers. At about nine o’clock the company was dismissed.
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