HC Deb 03 August 1885 vol 300 cc834-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to the following extract from a Letter, dated 8th July, received from a young officer stationed at Suakin, and published in the newspapers:— Behold the average temperature of the last fortnight in a mess hut, with double roof and sides: maximum, 110 39° Fahr.; minimum, 91 46° Fahr. We have a death every day nearly from sunstroke, heat, apoplexy, or typhoid. I am very well but for a feeling of general limpness, which we all experience. Heaven prevent us from an autumn campaign. The last straw—one ice ship disabled, the other ordered off—no more ice from to-morrow. Sick percentage—European, 20 per cent.; Indian, 16 per cent. The place is not fit for a dog to live in; whether there is any truth in the principal statements contained in this extract; and, whether the Government are now prepared to consider the advisability of withdrawing from Suakin without further delay the remainder of the British troops still stationed there?


also asked, What number of British Troops, Egyptian Troops, or Indian Troops, still remain at Suakin; whether it is intended by the Government that they shall remain there permanently, or when they will be withdrawn; what is the state of health of the garrison now at Suakin; and, what policy Her Majesty's Government intends to pursue with regard to that place?


The recorded temperature at Graham's Point, Suakin, from the 4th to the 10th of July inclusive, averaged 97 8 degrees at 9 A.M. and 102 4 degrees at 3 P.M. AS regards sickness among European troops, the percentage for the week ending July 3 was 12 4, and for the following week 16 7, which included invalids sent home. During the same weeks the deaths were 12—namely, six from enteric fever and six from sunstroke. There were no Returns received here as to the Indian troops. I have received a telegram showing how matters stood on the 23rd of July. The British strength was 930, of whom 133 were sick, showing 14 3 per cent; health indifferent; prevailing diseases, fever and nervous exhaustion from heat; enteric fever much less; weather cooler during last few days, health consequently improved, but varies with temperature. Native troops—Strength, 2,405; sick, 161, giving 6 7 per cent; health fair. Steps are now being taken for the immediate relief of the European troops, and no more will be retained at Suakin than are indispensable for the defence of the place.


asked as to the steps being taken to relieve the Bengal troops, who were suffering great hardships?


in reply, said, steps were being taken to relieve the Indian troops in the month of October. The Sikh Regiment would certainly be relieved then; but he could not then say whether the 1st Battalion of the Shropshire Regiment would leave Suakin altogether, or whether part of it would be sent to Cyprus, and then go back to Suakin.