War Office Council

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War Office Council
British Army Flag 1938 to 1959.gif
Council overview
Formed1890
Preceding Council
  • Army Board
Dissolved1904
Superseding department
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
HeadquartersWhitehall, London
Parent CouncilWar Office

The War Office Council also known as the War Office Consultative Council of the War Office, was the first permanent governing body of the British Army from its establishment on 12 May 1890. It was initially presided over by the Secretary of State for War and was to include the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces the junior War Office ministers, the Permanent Under Secretary for War, the Adjutant General, the Quartermaster General, the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Director of Artillery. It existed until 8 February 1904 when it was superseded by an Army Council.[1]

History

Between 1888 and 1890 a Royal Commission, under the chairmanship of the Marquess of Hartington, considered the civil and professional administration of the Admiralty. .and the War Office and its report included the recommendations that the Commander in-Chief should be replaced by a Chief of Staff at the War Office and a General Officer Commanding Great Britain (outside the War Office) and that a permanent War Office Council should be established.” The first of these recommendations could not be adopted at this time because of the opposition of the Duke of Cambridge;” but a permanent War Office Council was established on 12 May 1890, replacing the War Office Meetings instituted by Cardwell, which had continued under his successors, although with less frequency and regularity.[2]

The War Office Council was to be presided over by the Secretary of State and was to include the Commander-in-Chief, the junior War Office ministers, the Permanent Under Secretary, the Adjutant General, the Quartermaster General, the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Director of Artillery, together with such other officers as the Secretary of State might summon having regard to the business under discussion. Whenever possible the Council was to meet fortnightly.” The Hartington Commission was also concerned to ensure greater co-operation between the War Office and the Admiralty and another of its recommendations resulted in the establishment of a Joint Naval and Military Committee on Defence, under the Parliamentary Under Secretary of the War Office. This Committee may be regarded as one of the forerunners of the Committee of Imperial Defence.[3]

The War Office Council also continued to meet under the new title of War Office Consultative Council from 1895. Its membership was as before but it was to meet only when required by the Secretary of State for the discussion of subjects which he wished to refer to it.[4] Following recommendations of the Clinton Dawkins Committee,” and the War Office Council was strengthened. In December 1901 membership of the War Office Council was extended to include the Director General of Mobilisation and Military Intelligence and the Director General of the Army Medical Department (now the sixth principal military officer), and a principal clerk was appointed secretary.[5] The Council also began to meet more frequently, usually weekly. At a lower level a Permanent Executive Committee (War Office Council) was established to meet twice a week as a consultative body to co-ordinate the work of the Office.[6] A separate Selection Board (War Office Council) was established an composed of the Commander-in-Chief, as president. In addition a Promotion Board (War Office Council), comprising three or more General Officers, was created to report on the fitness for promotion to Major General.[7]

A Royal Commission setup and reported back in July 1903 proposed the reorganisation of the War Office Council. A Committee on War Office Reconstitution was set up to consider these proposals; it reported between January and March 1904. A new Army Council was constituted by letters patent on 6 February 1904, its duties were defined by an Order in Council of 10 August 1904 and certain statutory powers formerly exercised by the Secretary of State for War or the Commander-in-Chief were transferred to it by Act of Parliament in 1909.[8]

Principal members of the council

Political

Military

Civil Service

Secretary

  • Principal Clerk to the War Office Council, (1901-1904)

Subsidiary Boards and Committee's

  • Permanent Executive Committee of the War Office Council, (1901-1904)
  • Promotion Board of the War Office Council, (1901-1904)
  • Selection Board of the War Office Council, (1901-1904)

Notes

  1. Roper, Michael (1998). "Ordnance Departments after 1855". The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. pp. 103–108. ISBN 9781873162453.
  2. Roper. pp.103-104.
  3. Roper. pp.103-104.
  4. Roper. pp.105.
  5. Roper. pp.106-107.
  6. Roper. pp.106.
  7. Roper. pp.106-107.
  8. Roper. pp.107-108.

Bibliography

  1. Clark, Andrew. “The Army Council And Military Medical Administration.” The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 2251, 1904, pp. 442–442. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20279611.
  2. Holmes, Richard (2011), Soldiers: Army Lives and Loyalties from Redcoats to Dusty Warriors, UK: Harper Collins, ISBN 9780007457724.
  3. Roper, Dr Michael (1998). The records of the War Office and related departments, 1660-1964. London: Public Record Office. ISBN 1873162456.