HC Deb 22 May 1879 vol 246 cc1015-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether his attention has been called to the following account of the slaughter of a wounded Zulu Chief in the Durban Correspondence of the "Daily Telegraph" of Monday the 19th instant:— The following from Colonel Bellairs, D.A.G., has just reached me: Captain Prior, 80th Foot (on April the 5th) proceeded with a mounted patrol, consisting of Lieutenant Ussher and four of his regiment, and Mr. Freter, junior, from Luneberg, in the direction of the Upper Pongola Drift. Having come up with twenty friendly natives, and obtaining information that the Zulus were sweeping horses and cattle from the valley, he went in pursuit, and came within 800 yards of a few mounted men, who were hurrying on horses and cattle, which they abandoned and fled. After capturing the horses (eighteen), and leaving them in charge of Lieutenant Ussher, Mr. Freter, and two men, he went on with Private Bowen, their horses being freshest, following two Zulus who had taken the direction of Dombie. They came eventually within 400 yards, and exchanged shots with them; one of the Zulus was wounded by a bullet, and, the friendly natives coming up, was assegaied. He was recognised as a younger son of Sihayo; the other, who got away, being ascertained to have been Umbelini; whether he has had his attention directed to the correspondence of the "Standard" of the same date, in which cases of refusal to give quarter and of the slaughter of wounded Zulus after the battle of Gingilhovo are mentioned; and, whether he proposes to take any steps in consequence of these statements?


The account of the "slaughter of a wounded Zulu Chief" which the hon. Member has quoted from The Daily Telegraph is, I see, contradicted by a later account which appeared in the Press yesterday, from which it seems that of the two Zulus named one was killed by a bullet at 400 yards, and the other wounded, and that the wounded man escaped. I cannot say whether either story is accurate; but the later version certainly does not bear out the interpretation placed by the hon. Member on the passage which he has quoted. As to the eases mentioned in the correspondence in The Standard, they appear to be unsupported statements of a general character, resting on hearsay evidence, which I should not think it necessary to notice. Circumstances may unavoidably occur in the heat of action which all would regret; but if any English officer, or soldier, had intentionally refused quarter to an enemy who had submitted—which I do not believe—I am satisfied that the military authorities might safely be trusted to deal with the case.