HC Deb 29 July 1879 vol 248 c1534

said, that as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for War was now in his place, he would ask him the Question which stood first upon the Notice Paper—namely, Whether newspaper correspondents at the seat of war in South Africa are permitted to take an active part against the enemy, otherwise than in self-defence; and, whether the attempt to shoot a fugitive Zulu scout, which the special correspondent of the "Standard" records that he himself made, as may be seen in the "Standard" of July 17th, is a matter which calls for any notice from the War Office?


Sir, in reply, I beg to say that I conceive any officer who permitted a newspaper correspondent to take an active part against the enemy would act in a manner which I should characterize as unjustifiable. In reply to the second part of the Question, I have to say that I have looked at the paragraph referred to, and find that the corespondent states that he twice attempted to fire at a Zulu, but in neither case did his rifle go off; and it does not appear that he either hurt the Zulu, or even frightened him. If it were a general practice at the seat of war for persons not connected with the Service, and not on duty, to take an active part against the enemy, I should consider it my duty to address some communication to the General Officer; but as there is no evidence of the existence of the practice beyond that contained in the letters of the correspondent to whom attention has been drawn I do not intend to notice the matter further.