HC Deb 27 March 1885 vol 296 cc839-40

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether any, and if so what, steps have been or are about to be taken to reinforce and strengthen the Commissariat and Transport Department under Sir Gerald Graham at Suakin; and, whether he can account for the apparent inadequacy of that important branch of the expedition?


in reply, said, the establishment which was provided for the Suakin Force, after careful consideration, comprised 60 officers, 28 warrant officers, and 514 noncommissioned officers and men of the Commissariat and Transport Corps, 320 men of the Indian Corps of Bheesties, 4,607 drivers, and 743 labourers. Sir Gerald Graham had asked for a reinforcement of a company of the Commissariat and Transport Corps; and he (the Marquess of Hartington) had arranged for the despatch of six other officers and 16 clerks, in all 14 officers and 141 noncommissioned officers and men, without delay.


I would also ask the noble Marquess, whether his attention has been called to a statement that a convoy was sent from Suakin to one of the zerebas with empty water-skins; and, if that statement is correct, what steps will be taken to prevent the repetition of so grave an occurrence?


We have received, no official account of the circumstance to which the noble Viscount calls attention; but I have not the least doubt that if it occurred General Graham would at once take steps to prevent its recurrence.