Hull Packet & East Riding Times
Fri 8 Aug 1879
4TH EAST YORK ARTILLERY
THE RECENT MILITARY ENQUIRY
DECISION OF THE WAR OFFICE
AND THREE CAPTAINS
ORDERED TO RESIGN
COL HUMPHREYS CONDUCT
AN order has arrived in Hull from the War Office giving the decision of the authorities at Headquarters on the recent enquiry which was held here with reference to the conduct of Colonel Humphrey. The charges against the Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant were, it will be remembered, signed by certain officers of the corps, and the Committee of Inquiry forwarded their report to the War Office.
The order which has come down instructs the commanding officer of the 4th East York Artillery Volunteers to intimate through the Adjutant to Lieutenant-Colonel Saner, Captain Johnson, Captain Thompson, and Captain Horsley, that they must all at once resign their commissions.
The War Office authorities confirm in every respect the report presented to them on the subject by Major-General Willis, commanding the 2nd Sub-division of the Northern District. Both the report of the Inquiry Committee and of the Major General, recommending the immediate resignation of the officers named have been confirmed. The Assistant Quartermaster-General has sent down a copy of the letter from the Horse Guards to Major General Willis, requesting him to forward a copy to Colonel Humphrey through Colonel Hill, and also sending copies of the whole of the correspondence on the subject.
In this correspondence, and the decision of the War Office, Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey is certainly absolved from all the charges which were brought against him. We are informed that one of the officers who has been a prominent instigator of these charges, and who advised on every point, has probably only saved his commission by being absent in America when the inquiry was held. He left behind, however, most voluminous affidavits which the Court very properly refused to admit, as the officer was not present to explain or stand cross-examination.
The most cruel things have been said of the Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant and his supporters, but they have stood by and said nothing, knowing that before the proper authority, viz, the committee of inquiry, Colonel Humphrey could thoroughly clear himself. It has been constantly asserted in public and up to within the last few days that the sum of £1,800, subscribed by officers and obtained from other sources, over and above the capitation grant, had been disposed of by Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey, and that he was unable to account for it. The colonel considering, no doubt, that the matter was somewhat sub judice, did not refute this, knowing that he could do so, and has done so, at the inquiry.
The public will now be satisfied that all the charges against the commanding officer of the corps are utterly groundless. Anyone knowing the mode of keeping the accounts will be aware that such a thing as has been alleged would be quite impossible. Not one penny of the money has ever passed through the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey; all money has been disbursed by the honorary paymaster. We are in a position to state that there are vouchers for every fraction, and these vouchers are verified as being for legitimate purposes.
The only reason why a well-known firm of accountants declined signing the balance-sheet last year was because it was not made out on the usual mercantile form, but in that which has been adopted from the formation of the Artillery Corps, and in accordance with Government instructions. There is no item that cannot be verified and traced through the books. The mode is very simple, the accounts of the corps consisting merely of receipts and disbursements. We have it on the most undoubted authority, too, that the books, on being audited, were perfectly correct in every particular. Every penny was entered, all the accounts checked, and the balance-sheet was made out from the books. Every account passed through the hands of the auditor and in no point whatever was anything approaching incorrectness discovered.
Through the exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey the corps is now in a most flourishing condition and with regard to the vacancies caused by the forced resignation of the officers we have named, they could, we believe, be filled up five times over if necessary. Any gentleman entering this brigade may be satisfied that he will be joining a perfectly solvent concern, and this can be easily proved by figures which show the whole liabilities up the building, properties, and everything else, is not more than £1,500, against which there is £500 cash in the bank, and half the Government Grant already earned. There is probably also about £150 due to the corps from other sources. The building and properties are valued at £14,000 by a competent valuer, and these are owned by the corps. As a proof of the successful exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey it may be pointed out that when he took command the corps had not a building or any property whatever, and was saddled with a debt of £3,000.
The decision of the War Office will, we think, when all these facts are considered, be received with general satisfaction by the public, who have displayed great interest in the result of the inquiry. Whilst congratulating Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey, we may also be allowed to express our sympathy with him in the unexampled patience and forbearance which he has displayed in the wearisome task of waiting for vindication from the unjust charges brought so unscrupulously against him.
The brigade will now, it is hoped, resume its former state of unanimous friendship, and again deserve the title which was given it at one time by the public, viz, "The Happy Fourth East York".
The roster of disaffected officers appears at the moment [Jul 2016] to have comprised Lieutenant-Colonel Saner, Major Pudsey, Captain Johnson, Captain Thompson, and Captain Horsley.
The officer absent in America during the Court of Inquiry, and not present to explain his position or stand cross-examination, was almost certainly Saner. He subsequently pretended that he hadn't been party to the allegations, but merely conveyed them to the authorities on behalf of his subordinates. Quite a feat from over 3000 miles away!
Capitation is an amount of money that is officially given to an organisation for each person on whose behalf it operates, providing that individual fulfils certain attendance or participation requirements. If he fails to meet those requirements, he is generally expected to meet the shortfall in funding from his own pocket, as in the case of the tiresome Lieutenant Baxter.