HC Deb 13 May 1901 vol 93 cc1454-5
MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that about a dozen of the mutineers of the West African Regiment were shot and 128 sent as prisoners to Sierra Leone, he will state whether these troops committed any offence beyond leaving Coomassie two months after the period of their engagement there had ended.

The following question was also on the paper:—


To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the pay of the West African Regiment, part of which recently mutinied at Coomassie, was in arrear, and that, further, the men were originally enlisted only for three months and had repeatedly been promised relief.


I will reply at the same time to the question put by the hon. Member for the Leigh Division of Lancashire. I have not yet received the full Report, which is on its way by mail, but I hear by telegram, dated 11th May, that the troops in question did commit the serious crime of mutiny and of resisting authority by firing on the King's troops. Twelve were killed at the moment, and 134 were sent as prisoners to Sierra Leone, of whom twenty were wounded by rifle fire after their resistance. They were tried by general court-martial, and all declared deserters. Six were condemned to death, but sentence was subsequently commuted to penal servitude, and six more were sent to penal servitude. According to the information in our possession, the period of service had not expired.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any care had been taken to make these troops understand the crime they committed.


Order, order! That does not arise out of the question on the Paper.


I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has answered my question. Was the men's pay in arrear?


I have given all the information I have.