HC Deb 07 November 1884 vol 293 cc1223-4

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is a fact that the troops and materials en route from Natal to Bechuanaland are being sent from Natal to Cape Town, and thence by rail to Hope Town; whether he is aware that as good landing arrangements exist at Port Alfred as at Natal, and that a Railway equally exists from Port Alfred to Hope Town; whether, if they were landed at Port Alfred, a saving of 450 miles of sea and 170 miles of rail would not be saved, which would make a very considerable difference in the cost of their transit; and, should it be the case, whether he will give instructions to land the troops at Port Alfred?


This Question more properly concerns the War Department; but on inquiry, both there and at the Admiralty, I find that though, no doubt, by landing at Port Alfred or Port Elizabeth there would be a saving as regards mere distance, yet there would be no saving as regards time, and the cost would be much heavier than to disembark at Cape Town, where the ships would go into dock and the horses could walk ashore.