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South African War-Train Wrecking At Taaibosch

Volume 91: debated on Friday 22 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether the three men who were shot on the 19th instant by sentence of a Military Court, confirmed by Lord Kitchener, for alleged treason and murder in connection with the wrecking of a train near Taai-bosch, and the two men who were sentenced by the same Court to five years penal servitude for the same alleged offence, were all or any of them prisoners of war or local farmers. The hon. Member complained that certain portions of the question had been omitted by the Clerk at the Table.

Two extracts from a newspaper were omitted. There was no opportunity, I am told, of communicating with the hon. Member.

I have received the following telegram from Lord Kitchener—

"Pretoria, 20th March, 1901, 11.30 a.m.
"In two eases tried by Court-Martial, Field General Court-Martial, recently, I have confirmed death sentence: both Courts were submitted to Sir A. Milner, who considered confirmation necessary. First case: Three Cape Colony rebels assisted in wrecking train in Cape Colony, causing death of five men, and subsequently murdered a native boy. Second case: A burgher, De Jaegers, near Harrismith, killed three natives; the last in most coldblooded manner. No military extenuating circumstances possible. Sentences have been carried out."
I have no information as to the two men who were sentenced to penal servitude. His Majesty's Government, while regretting the necessity, entirely approve Lord Kitchener's action in this matter.