HC Deb 01 March 1900 vol 79 cc1413-4
MR. BAIRD () Glasgow, Central

I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether any reports have been received from officers commanding troops on board transports for South Africa on the quality of meat supplied to the troops; whether on several occasions the meat has been condemned by the medical officer and thrown overboard in bulk, while that actually cooked has been found to be un eatable and treated in the same way; whether any reports have been received from South Africa on the condition of some of the troops when lauded to the effect that they had evidently been underfed on the voyage; and whether steps have been taken to secure that the meat issued to the troops on board transports shall be of good quality, and the provisions on sale cheap and plentiful.


Reports have been received from officers commanding troops on board sixty transports victualled by the Admiralty. On seven transports the salt meat ration was condemned on different occasions and other rations issued. Five commanding officers have reported that the troops disliked the salt beef rations, because they were either too salt, or hard, or unpalatable. The answer to the third paragraph is in the negative. Every care has been taken to secure that the rations issued to the troops should be of the best quality; and in a few cases where complaints had been made that the prices of the canteen were high and the stock of articles sold there insufficient, the attention of the owners has been called to these matters, and they have been rectified. I may add that, in the case of every ship where complaints were made, the salt beef has been landed at the Cape, and that the report of the Board which has surveyed it is to the effect that it is quite satisfactory.

SIR J. FERGUSSON () Manchester, N. E.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman is it not a fact that some of the transport cases of salt beef were marked "1893"?


No, Sir; I have received no report to that effect, and I do not believe there is foundation for such a statement.


I can submit proof.


Was the condemned beef home grown or foreign?

[No answer was returned.]