HC Deb 04 March 1908 vol 185 cc665-6
MR. B. S. STRAUS (Tower Hamlets, Mile End)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a company called the Lydenburg Estates duly lodged a claim with the proper authorities for damage done by the British troops during the South African War, and for goods requisitioned; and that, on the advice of the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, they withdrew their claim in respect of the first item and restricted their claim to goods absolutely requisitioned by the British troops, and for which they have produced the receipt of a major in the British Army, but after repeated applications they have failed to obtain a settlement; and will he look into this, with a view to arranging that this private company shall be paid for the goods supplied to His Majesty's troops.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The Lydenburg Estates were informed by the Colonial Office when they sent in their claim that no compensation could be paid to companies for general war damage whether caused by the Boers or by British troops, compensation being paid only to individuals to enable them to resume their normal occupations. That part of the claim which rested on a certificate signed by a major in the British Army was very carefully considered both by the Governor and by the Secretary of State, and it was decided that the view of the Central Judicial Commission, which adjudicated upon the claim, that the certificate in question could not be regarded as a military receipt but only as evidence of war losses, must be upheld. The claim has been exhaustively considered and it is not possible now to re-open it.