HC Deb 08 February 1900 vol 78 cc907-8
* MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty is he aware that the ship "Herzog" was detained by Her Majesty's ship "Thetis," and taken in to Durban on suspicion of carrying contraband of war; that there was on board the "Herzog" a large party of men professing to be an ambulance party; that these men were armed, some of their arms being in charge of the captain; that, besides these, there were some forty second-class passengers with no recognised status, affecting to belong to Geneva red cross societies; also that the "Herzog's" papers showed that among her cargo were numerous cases professing to contain macaroni, which there is reason to believe contained rifles; and that there were also large quantities of tinned provisions, coffee, boots, cyanide, and other things of use in warlike operations, most of them consigned to Mr. Potts, the Transvaal Vice Consul at Delagoa Bay, and others of them consigned to well-known Transvaal agents there; will he say by whom and in virtue of what authority the "Herzog" was released without any examination being made of her cargo or passengers by the Prize Court, and were Her Majesty's Government consulted with reference to the release of this vessel; and was the release of the vessel ordered by Her Majesty's Government; and if so, why.


The "Herzog" was detained by Her Majesty's ship "Thetis" and taken into Durban on suspicion of carrying contraband of war. She was released by order of Her Majesty's Government, as summary search did not reveal guns or ammunition, and assurances of a satisfactory nature had been given by the German Government on behalf of the company she belonged to. No contraband was found among her cargo at Lorenzo Marques; the fact of members of an ambulance corps carrying revolvers would not disqualify them from claiming to be non-combatants. The officers of the British Army Medical Corps carry swords, and occasionally revolvers. It is not known that these revolvers were in charge of the captain.