HC Deb 03 March 1885 vol 294 c1899

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is correct that the British forces, on retreating from Abu Klea, adopted the course of filling up the wells?

Mr. JOSEPH COWES and Mr. CROPPER had Questions on the Paper referring to the same subject.


With reference to the nearly identical Questions which stand in the names of the hon. Members for Sunderland (Mr. Storey), Kendal (Mr. Cropper), and Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. J. Cowen), I have not received any official Report of the circumstance alluded to; but I have made inquiries from Lord Wolseley in the matter. Although I know nothing of the particular circumstance, perhaps I may say that from the information we have received respecting the wells on the Desert route, it appears that some of the so-called wells are only holes in the sand, which might be rendered unserviceable for a short time by being filled up, but would not in the slightest degree be permanently injured. With regard to the wells at Gakdul, I think there can be no foundation for the report that they have been destroyed, because it would require very considerable operations—in fact, it would be impossible.


asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the statement in The Times of this morning, as to the pumping apparatus for the supply of water along the projected Suakin-Berber Railway, Whether any, and, if so, what steps have been taken to obtain tenders from English manufacturers?


All materials connected with the arrangements for the supply of water have been, or are being, obtained from English contractors, with the exception of a few special pumping engines, which, as I explained last night, were ready to hand at New York.