HC Deb 02 April 1900 vol 81 c932

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he has any information to the effect that the farms around Ladysmith have been much damaged by the Boer forces during the investment; that the farmhouse of the Mayor of Ladysmith between Lombard's Kop and Pepworth Hill has been completely gutted, the furniture removed, and the walls of the buildings and their fittings destroyed, and that on the route taken by the British troops between Kimberley and Bloemfontein farmhouses have been sacked and burned or seriously damaged, and the furniture generally destroyed; and, if so, will general commanding officers be instructed to take all possible steps to prevent looting and destruction of property by the British forces.


The hon. Member's question confuses two charges—one against the enemy's forces, accusing them of destroying property in the neighbourhood of Ladysmith; a second against British troops, accusing them of destroying property between Kimberley and Bloemfontein. No information has reached us from Lord Roberts in respect of either allegation. But the hon. Member must be aware that stringent orders have been issued by Lord Roberts to British troops warning them of the consequences of any such acts. I do not know of any similar order having been issued by the enemy's generals. Nor can I guess the hon. Member's object in confusing the two charges, unless it was to exhibit this gratifying contrast.


I had no intention of confusing the issues at all. I think proclamations should be issued by both sides.