HALF-PAY, an allowance given in the British army and navy to commissioned officers not actively employed in the rank to which the half-pay has reference. It corre sponds to the French demi•solde, or pay of It has long been a disputed point whether half-pay is given to officers as a retaining fee, to keep them at hand for the time when their services may be again required, or an award on account of services already rendered; but whatever the terms of the original grant, there can be little doubt tha.t, under the present regulations, half-pay, except when distinctly named retired half-pay, is in the nature of a retaining fee. This allowance is on quite a different footing in the navy mid army.
In the royal navy of Great Britain, officers are merely appointed to serve during the period a certain ship is in commission; when this expires, their employment ceases, and they revert to a state of non-activity. As there are always many more naval officers than appointments for them to fill, a considerable number are at all times on the non effective list. These are placed on half-pay until again called up( n to serve; the amount of such half-pay being usually about 60 per cent of the full pay of each grade. Half-pay is thus in the navy a recognized condition for all officers not immediately wanted afloat.
In the British army, the case is different; there, an officer, on joining, is posted to a particular regiment, with which, in theory, he is supposed to serve until removed from it on attaining the rank of general. Consequently, no fund like the naval half-pay list
is in any degree admitted. Army half-pay is of two natures—temporary half-pay. and (so-called) permanent half-pay. The former is limited to officers incapacitated by casual sickness, to those who are without occupation, in consequence of any reductimi of the corps in winch they were serving, and to those serving in certain staff appointments.
Permanent half-pay can be demanded by any officer who has served for 25 years; it is also given to majors and lient.colonels who, after serving for 5 years with a regiment in those ranks, are not re-employed. Since the abolition of purchase and sale of com missions, this last class may he expected, for the sake of promotion in the lower ranks, to increase The cost of half-pay is already very great; in 1877-78, it was 4:315,500 for the army. Till lately, a large proportion of the recipients were officers placed on the list at the great reduction after the peace of 1815. The vote for naval half-pay in 1877-78 was £746,341.
The first grant of army half-pay was made in 1698 by William IN