§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he 29 has obtained information from South Africa, and if he can communicate to the House what were the exceptional circumstances connected with the compulsion of British colonists to witness the execution of their countrymen at Dordrecht; who gave the order for such compulsion; if it was sanctioned by the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, and, if not, whether the officer responsible for it has been punished; and whether these colonists were convicted criminals or prisoners; under what penalty did they attend, and what object was gained by such compulsion.
§ *MR. LEAMY (Kildare, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he has any official information to the effect that several of the leading inhabitants of Cradock have been deported for refusing to obey the order to attend the execution of Johannes Petrus Coetzee; and, if so, by whose order was the deportation carried out.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether his attention has been called to the fact that all male adults in the township of Cradock were summoned by a public notice, headed by the title Martial Law, by Major C. C. Wiseman Clarke, Commandant Cradock District, to attend in the market square on the morning of Friday, 12th July, at a quarter to eleven, to witness the promulgation of the 30 sentence of death on Johannes Petrus Coetzee for high treason, and that the notice enjoined all places of business to be closed from half-past ten till after the promulgation of the sentence, and whether this notice had the sanction, either previous or subsequent, of Lord Kitchener.
§ *MR. LEAMY
Will the noble Lord ascertain if there is any truth in this serious allegation that a number of men have been deported for refusing to witness an execution?
I understand we are to have a full report, and until that arrives it is impossible for me to say anything.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
Is it not the fact that after the Dordrecht case orders were given that people should not be compelled to witness these executions?
§ [No answer was given.]
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Has the noble Lord any doubt that the proclamation was issued at Cradock? I have a copy of it here. It is a most atrocious thing, and yet the War Office have no information.