HC Deb 24 May 1900 vol 83 cc1090-1
MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that British troops in execution of orders marched in towards Bloemfontein, burning practically everything on the road, that the troops were followed by about 3,500 head of loot cattle and sheep, and that hundreds of tons of corn and forage were destroyed; whether such destruction of private property is in accordance with the usages of civilised warfare; and whether he will make inquiry whether the women and children inhabiting the destroyed farmhouses will be in danger of dying from starvation and exposure in the coming winter, and in such case will he have provision made against such a contingency.


We have no informa tion of the kind suggested by the question. The Secretary of State has no doubt that Lord Roberts is conducting his campaign according to the usages of civilised warfare, and does not propose to make the suggested inquiry.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the information comes from a correspondent at Bloemfontein, who gives his name, and who derives his information from conversations with officers who were the unwilling instruments of these orders?


It is a matter of the most perfect indifference to me where the information comes from. I do not believe it is true.