HC Deb 06 August 1883 vol 282 cc1629-30

asked the Secretary of State for War, If it is his intention to have hospital ships placed at the disposal of the Commanders of the Troops in Egypt for the purpose of receiving cholera patients at Alexandria and Ismailia, and also as depots for medical comforts?


Even supposing there were hospital ships available at a day's notice—which there are not—I am informed by the medical advisers of the War Office that they would be inappropriate for cholera patients who could not be moved long distances to the ships. Troops attacked by cholera would be kept moving; and it is necessary that the proper medical comforts should accompany them, so as to be instantly available.


asked, Whether the despatch relating to quarantine, published in one of the morning papers, was authentic; and, if so, whether it was the habit of Her Majesty's Government to write apologetic despatches to Foreign Governments?


I will lay the despatch on the Table today.


asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If he is aware that the German Admiralty have attached to the Baltic Squadron during its evolutionary cruise a complete hospital ship, fitted with cots, requisites for the sick and wounded, instruments, and operating tables, and that it is intended in any future war that the vessels shall accompany the fleet into action, carrying the Geneva flag; and, whether it is intended to attach similar hospital ships to British Squadrons at home and abroad?


Sir, we have no official information on the subject of the first Question of my hon. Friend; but I believe the fact is as he says. It is not the intention of the Admiralty to attach hospital ships to our cruising squadrons in time of peace. During war we should prepare hospital ships for service according to the circumstances and requirements of the war. For example, during the Egyptian Campaign the Carthage, Tamar, and other vessels were completely fitted for such a duty at very short notice, and our troopships are all suitable for use as hospital ships without any addition to their fittings.