HC Deb 20 March 1884 vol 286 cc292-3

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to the following statement of The Times correspondent in Eastern Soudan:— On the way I passed over yesterday's battle-field with Captain Slade, and there found a wounded rebel who by some mysterious chance had not been killed yesterday after the fight; and, whether, as this statement implies, the wounded of the enemy, with the exception of this one man, who were unable to leave the field of battle were killed; and, if not, whether he can state how many wounded were taken, prisoners?


asked the Secretary of State for War, If there were any prisoners taken in the two battles in the Eastern Soudan?


asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether any wounded Arabs have survived the late engagements; if so, can he state what becomes of them when the battle ground is occupied by the English; and, has any reference been made to the subject in any of the communications that have passed between the Military authorities and the Government?


In reply to these Questions, I will, with the permission of the House, read a telegram from Sir Gerald Graham on the subject. It is dated from Suakin, at 10.30 last evening— At El Teb no wounded man injured unless he attacked our men. Fifteen prisoners were made by General Davis. Two others feigning death attempted to murder a sergeant of the Black Watch. My aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Scott, rescued five men from a heap of wounded at El Teb, of whom one made an attempt to attack with his knife, but was disarmed. Of these I sent one with a letter to garrison of Tokar; the rest were afterwards released at El Teb. At Tamai the wounded continued to fight to the last. General Stewart was nearly stabbed while giving water to a wounded man. Corporal Moffat, R.E., and a wounded Infantry man were attacked and injured by men feigning to be dead. Many other cases occurred. Generally speaking the enemy neither gave, nor accepted quarter, and our men were obliged to kill them in self-defence. It is, however, no question of colour or nationality. Our men like these blacks who fought so well, and are friendly with them when they will allow them. If wounded European soldiers were to continue fighting they would be killed by their enemy in self-defence.


Has the noble Marquess seen the sketch in The Daily Telegraph, by Mr. Melton Prior, in which there occur the words, "Shooting wounded rebels in rifle pits?"


Yes, I have seen the sketch; but I do not know that it in any way impugns the accuracy of what I have stated.