HC Deb 22 June 1904 vol 136 cc811-2
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the attention of the military authorities in India has been called to the insanitary state of the quarters and barracks of British officers and native ranks of the Indian contingent quartered in China at Shan-hai-kwan, Tientsin, and other stations; whether they are aware that at Shan-hai-kwan nearly every British officer has been at some time or other laid up with fever, dysentery, or diarrhéa, the quarters of both officers and men being in an old yamen, the enclosure of which is the old bed of the River Shi-to and liable to be flooded; whether other foreign contingents at Shan-hai-kwan are well housed in forts captured by the British force in 1900, and at Tientsin have superior accommodation, while those of our own troops have been reported on as in a disgraceful condition, and whether be will call for a report on the sanitary condition of the China stations, and order that measures should be taken to secure healthy quarters for our troops.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Arnold-Forster.) Money has been taken in the Army Estimates for the improvement of the accommodation at Pekin and Shan-hai-kwan, but there is no information at the War Office to show the exact progress made with the work. Further, no recent information as to the health of the troops has been received at the War Office as the returns are sent to Army headquarters in India, but the question is one of importance, as it concerns the health of officers and men, and I will cause further inquiries to be made.