HC Deb 13 April 1885 vol 296 cc1477-8

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true, as stated in the Press, that— Guku, the Greek to whom General Gordon entrusted his diaries, and who accompanied Nousri Pasha (just arrived here), complains bitterly of Sir Charles Wilson's unnecessary five days' delay at Metemneh before starting for Khartoum. He states that he daily urged Sir Charles, but in vain, not to lose a moment, as every hour was of inestimable importance. Guku, who accompanied Sir Charles Wilson's expedition to Khartoum, declares that if it had started at once upon reaching Metemneh it would have arrived in time to save General Gordon; and, if so, whether Sir Charles Wilson has offered or has been asked for a satisfactory explanation of the cause of his delay at Metemneh; and, if so, what is the nature of the explanation of the Officer in question?


I have no knowledge of the Greek Guku, or of his statement; but I may, perhaps, say that as Sir Charles Wilson's despatch did not enter fully into his reasons for not starting for Khartoum earlier than he did, I asked some time since for a further statement. I do not understand why five days' delay is assumed. The steamers only arrived on the 21st, and Sir Charles Wilson left on the morning of the 24th, leaving two days to be accounted for. Some of the steamers went to Shendy on the 22nd, and Lord Charles Beresford only reported those selected to proceed to Khartoum as repaired and ready to start at 3 P.M. on that day. The 23rd, Sir Charles Wilson, in the despatch I have referred to, reports, was occupied in changing crews and making arrangements for the start. This is all I can say till the further accounts arrive.