HC Deb 27 March 1885 vol 296 c833

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to the following passage in the letter from its Special Correspondent at Korti, published in The Daily News of 25th March:— One may see tons of damaged biscuit from the boat stores brought out to be buried at this place alone, and there is trustworthy authority for saying that similar things are done at other points along the river here, and even on the Desert…At places where no other food is to be got, this becomes a matter of vital importance. Camel-loads were at one time hurried away across the desert without any preliminary examination, and, when the cases came to be opened, an alarmingly largo proportion of biscuits especially were found quite unfit for men to eat; whether he can yet state how much of the biscuit supplied was found unfit for use; whether the cases in which it was sent were soldered; whether they were ordered to be soldered by the Director of Supplies and Transport or the Director of Contracts when the purchases were sanctioned; whether, before they were "taken into charge," the cases of biscuit were inspected by the staff of the Commissary General at Woolwich to ascertain that they were packed according to contract; and, if he would lay upon the Table a Copy of the Contract under which they were purchased?


The quantity of biscuit supplied to the troops in the Soudan which has deteriorated cannot be stated until the whole stock is issued and detailed Reports received. The biscuit cases, both naval and contract, were soldered. The contractor was directed to pack the biscuit carefully in tin-lined cases for boat service, which involved soldering. He had previously supplied them soldered for Egypt, where they gave every satisfaction, and for this reason was specially employed on the present occasion. The cases when delivered at Woolwich were examined by the staff of the senior Commissariat officer. He reports that, in his opinion, the contractor's cases were quite equal to naval cases. It is not proposed to lay the contract on the Table of the House.