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This Tear’s report of Sir A. J. Godley on the Defence Forces Our Defence Forces, of New Zealand i* invested with more than ordinary interest at the present time. Efficiency for war is the paramount question of the hour, and the public offer greedy ears to any information or suggestion that tends to improve the service. The commanding officer has dons much in his repent to feed th© natural appetite for matters military. There is a heartening spirit of optimism throughout. Th© genera] has plainly no lingering apprehensions concerning the practicability of th© scheme of compulsory military training. He speaks with unbounded confidence of th© accession to our power of self-defence and the general improvement of physique which has followed the system. Anyhow, the war has silenced objectors. With blatant assurance we were told that a European embroilment was impossible, and that the German menace was only' a fairy tale industriously circulated by the manufacturers of firearms. The utterances of prophets like Norman Angell were paraded in demonstration of the folly of preparing for armed conflict. The day had gone past, we were asked to believe, when peoples could be conquered and territory annexed. Just when assurance was boldest and war bad been consigned to tli© limbo oi effete barbarisms, th© greatest war of ancient or modem times breaks out. The people of New Zealand are profoundly grateful that two years ago they were led to establish a citizen army. It mad© it easier to equip an expeditionary force and furnished tire machinery for developing a trustworthy defence of our shores. A natural feeling of pride must glow in tho hearts of Dr M'Nab, Sir J. G. Ward, and the Hon. Jas. Allen as they contemplate the justification which events have supplied to tho scheme which owes its origin to their patriotic labors. Their foresight has been already approved by the unfoldings of contemporary history. It may be our contention will provoke tli® retort that Great Britain is covering her arms with glory, and hers is an entirely voluntary system. We delight to acknowledge the bravery, resource, and strategy which signalises the British soldier; wc would do not the least to cheapen th© renown of these qualities; but scarcely will it bo contended that they are ascribable to the voluntary character of tho military establishment of the Mother Country. It would be an audacious act of unreason to argue that a course of compulsory military training obligatory upon the youths of the British Isles would have rendered our Empire less fitted to discharge the tasks of this European war. What, indeed, is tho fact? Great Britain to-day is suffering from an army inadequate in point of numbers. The war would probably now have been ended had the British Army been of a size commensurate with the British nation. W© believe that this titanic struggle of the Power® will demonstrate —if it has not already done so—the wisdom of laird Roberts’s advocacy of the system which has already become established in our Dominion.

These reflections have led us somewhat of! the track followed in Sir General Godley’s report. At the last camp it appears that 18,770 citizen soldiers underwent the annual training on th© tented field prescribed by the Defence Act. The cost per day of the ration per man was Is 4.3d, and of the forage per hors© 10.4 d. It is noticeable that this represents a reduction on the cost of last year, which was respectively 2s and Is 6d- The total expenditure on the Territorial Force was £488,570. Tho report concludes with a euloginm of Sir laa Hamilton, Inspector or General of the Overseas Forces: “A “striking feature o! tho military system “in Now Zealand lies m its economic “working- . Not a single profes-

“sional officer or non-commissioned officer “ appears to be employed whoso services, “ with du© regard to efficiency, could possibly be dispensed with-” Scattered through th© report is to be found much sane advice, wise criticism, and valuable suggestion. There is a commendable deprecation of th© too much use oi drill balk, and an insistence npon the superior value of open-air training. "Drill halls should only b© mad© use of "in bad weather and when th© day* are “ short.” 'There is a fin© flavor of that chastened spirit of democracy which cn-

impairing its discipline. “No officers can “hope to lead their men unless they first “ capture their respect and are in sym- “ pathy with them.” Th© British nation shows more regard to the common soldier and pours more dignity upon his manhood than any other nation. Hence hi* superior initiative and resource. Above everything else, General Godley’s concern is Hie efficiency of the citizen army. This explains his criticism of large centralised rifle meetings, at which only th© picked “shots” attend. The sole aim should be to afford facilities and incentive to the novice and average shot to attain a higher standard of efficiency, and this can be better achieved by financially supporting local competitions than by apportioning on© large sum to a osntraJ meeting to find its way into the pockets of a limited number of highly expert marksmen.

It is the passion to secure the utmost serviceableness which prompts the General’s offer personally to instruct the mounted corps of the Territorial Force. He k solicitous that they shall bo adapted less to tho pomp of parade and more to the uses of war.

My idea now is to place my own services, for what they are worth, at the disposal of such of tho mounted rifles as' can be most conveniently concentrated in one camp, and to give them th© benefit of my experience of the 12 years during which I served practically continuously with, mounted troops, both in peace and war. With this object, I propose to assemble tho three regiment® of th© Otago Mounted Rifles Brigade and the two nearest regiments of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Brigade, with the guns of'the Canterbury and Otago Field Artillery Brigades, at a central camp in tho South Island. There I hop© also to have the brigadiers and commanding officers of the North Island Mounted Rifles, and to inculcate the principles of the employment of mounted troops in comparatively large bodies. Arrangements will bo made for the two Infantry regiments of South Canterbury and North Otago, whoso headquarters are nearest to ijhis place of concentration, to be training in their indepem dent unit camps at th© same time, so that they may serve as an enemy against whom operations by tho mounted rifles may be directed. The report of the Director of Medical Services, which Is incorporated with General Godley’s, contains interesting references to the health of the Territorials. The general public will learn with gratification that the physical condition of the men has been much improved with the training. The instruction which has been given as to the oare of the mouth has yielded most beneficial results. In enumerating the causes of physical degeneration the Medical Superintendent pillories for special condemnation the cigarette. Among the causes of partial rejection, excepting the physically disabled, caused by accident of a temporary nature and the disorders of the lungs and system, also of a temporary nature, disordered action of the heart still accounts for a great number in practically all cases. This is due to cigarette smoking. Some means should be taken to bring before the youth of th© Dominion the dire results "caused by tho habitual use of cigarettes.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141024.2.10

Bibliographic details

Evening Star, Issue 15632, 24 October 1914

Word Count
1,243

Evening Star Issue 15632, 24 October 1914

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