HC Deb 12 May 1915 vol 71 cc1623-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the military instincts and fighting qualities of the Zulu, the Matabele, the Basuto, and other kindred races in South Africa, and that they are greatly disappointed that they have not so far been allowed to fight the enemies of Great Britain; whether the South African Government has deemed it inadvisable to allow these coloured warriors to participate in the War with the Germans now proceeding in South Africa; and whether the Secretary of State for War will consider the possibility of allowing these warriors to take their place along with our Indian and other troops in Flanders and France?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Harcourt)

I am aware of the martial instincts of the races referred to, and their loyalty is unquestioned. It is a fact that General Botha has deliberately abstained from employing armed natives with him as combatants in German South West Africa. No trained military forces of South African natives exist, and their employment as suggested would be both undesirable and impracticable.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these South African natives, equally with the Indians and the Maoris, are British subjects, and that they are becoming restive at not being allowed to take their place in the fighting line? When they were savage nations fighting against England, were they ever guilty of the savage cruelties and outrages which the Huns have committed?


I have never made such a suggestion.