HC Deb 05 March 1885 vol 295 cc100-1

asked the Secretary of State for War, with reference to the statement of the War Correspondent of The Morning Post that a quantity of supplies sent up the Nile for the use of our troops in the Soudan had been rendered useless in consequence of having been packed in trade cases, Whether, in addition to the 25 per cent, loss reported on articles comprised as grocery rations and packed in the Government Establishment at Woolwich, any loss has been reported in articles of supply sent out in trade cases; and, if so, what loss, and in what articles; and, if he would state by whom these articles were bought, and whether they were inspected; and, if so, by whom, previous to their despatch from this Country?


No Nile supplies were packed in what are technically known as "trade cases;" but special packages were provided by contractors in accordance with samples decided on by the Committee on Nile Boat Service. As I stated on the 27th of February, these were designedly made lighter than ordinary field cases. Losses are reported in the following articles:—Bacon, cheese, biscuits, pickles, soap, and matches. The exact loss will not be known until the supplies are all opened for use; but the average loss on these articles is estimated at about 12 tier cent from all causes, including total loss by wreckage and upsetting of boats, theft, climate, and damage to packages. The proportion of loss due to defective packing alone cannot be stated until the detailed accounts are received. The articles were purchased in the usual way by the Director of Army Contracts. The quality was determined by the Special Committee on Nile Boat Service; and the contractors' deliveries were tested by Commissariat and medical officers at Woolwich. It is reported from Korti that the quality of every article was found, without exception, to be excellent.