HC Deb 16 November 1882 vol 274 cc1546-7

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been directed to the "Soldier's Pocket Book" (fourth revised edition), by Lieutenant General Sir Garnet Wolseley, at pages 285 and 286, where it is stated that "one of the objects of the mission" of the bearer of a flag of truce may be To gain time—say during an action, to allow of reinforcements arriving—when, of course, the longer he can postpone the resumption of hostilities the better; and where it is recommended Never for one moment suspend any movement or operation you may be engaged in because the enemy has sent a flag of truce; as his object may be to gain time for the arrival of reinforcements, or for the execution of some flank or turning operation; and, whether he has authorised these doctrines in the British Army?


The hon. Member refers me to a book which, although the composition of a most distinguished soldier, has no official character whatever. I must decline to include in my duties as Minister of War that of interpreting for the benefit of the House of Commons passages in military books, whether of the present date or composed at former periods. But out of courtesy to the hon. Gentleman I may add that I have read the passage with the context, and that so far as I can judge from the Question I do not draw from it the conclusion arrived by the hon. Member.