ON January 1 the Westminster Government initiated its year of commemoration of the First World War with the minting of a new £2 coin, which is in general circulation.

This coin is engraved with the image of Field Marshall Horatio Lord Kitchener, the man who is credited with building the huge volunteer British army which was subsequently slaughtered on the Somme from July 1, 1916.

Several years previously, from 1900 to 1902, Kitchener was commander of the British army in South Africa in the Second Boer War.

He ordered that all Boer farms should be destroyed under his "scorched earth" policy .This included the systematic destruction of the Boers' crops and the slaughtering of all livestock, the burning down of homesteads, the poisoning of wells and the salting of fields.

This was in order to prevent the Boers from resupplying from a home base. This policy included the incarceration of tens of thousands of women and children, who were forcibly moved into 45 concentration camps throughout the Transvaal. There were another 64 concentration camps for black Africans who had made the serious error of supporting the Boers.

More than 26,000 Afrikaans women and children died in these camps. We do not have any figure for the similar number of black Africans who died, as the British army did not regard them as important enough to keep records.

To those in London who are organising this year of commem­oration of the First World War, Horatio Kitchener is a war hero. To my mind he is a war criminal.

Alan Clayton,


Letters Way,