HC Deb 05 May 1909 vol 4 cc1047-8

asked the Prime Minister whether he could make any statement as to the steps being taken by His Majesty's Government with regard to aerial navigation?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

The Government is taking steps towards placing its organisation for aerial navigation on a more satisfactory footing. As the result of a Report made by the Committee of Imperial Defence, the work of devising and constructing dirigible airships and aeroplanes has been apportioned between the Navy and the Army. The Admiralty is building certain dirigibles, while certain others of a different type will be constructed at the War Office Balloon Factory at Aldershot, which is about to be reorganised for the purpose. The investigation and provision of aeroplanes are also assigned to the War Office.

With a view to securing that the highest scientific talent shall be brought to bear on the problems which will have to be solved in the course of the work of the two Departments, the National Physical Laboratory has been requested to organise at its establishment at Teddington a special department for continuous investigation, experimental and otherwise, of questions which must from time to time be solved in order to obtain adequate guidance in construction.

For the superintendence of the investigations at the National Physical Labora- tory and for general advice on the scientific problems arising in connection with the work of the Admiralty and War Office in aerial construction and navigation, I have appointed a Special Committee which includes the following names:—


The Right Hon. Lord Rayleigh, O.M., F.R.S.


Dr. H. T. Glazebrook, F.R.S. (Director, National Physical Laboratory).


Major-General Sir Charles Hadden, K.C.B. (representing the Army).

Captain R. H. S. Bacon, R.N., C.V.O., D.S.O. (representing the Navy).

Sir Alfred G. Greenhill, F.R.S.

Dr. W. N. Shaw, F.R.S. (Director Meteorological Office).

Mr. Horace Darwin, F.R.S.

Mr. H. R. A. Mallock, F.R.S.

Professor J. E. Petavel, F.R.S.

Mr. F. W. Lanchester.


May I ask whether special and adequate funds have been placed at the disposal not only of this experimental and scientific committee, but also at the disposal of the War Office and the Admiralty in order to carry out the necessary work without delay?


Yes, Sir; the answer is in the affirmative.