HC Deb 15 July 1913 vol 55 cc1048-9
30. Mr. HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for War why a French aeronaut was officially allowed to fly down the Thames, though this very privilege was refused to Mr. Grahame-White, one of our most experienced fliers?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether a foreign aviator received permission to fly down the Thames, although an Englishman was refused the same permission; and whether, seeing that the Aerial Navigation Act was originally intended, to preclude foreign aviators from flying over certain localities in England, he will explain why British aviators should be prevented from having that continual practice which is necessary for adequate training?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to these questions. The Home Secretary grants the exemptions, though he can do so only on the recommendation of the Admiralty or War Office. I presume both questions refer to the cases of M. Levasseur and Mr. Grahame-White. M. Levasseur flew over the prohibited areas on the Thames without an exemption, and was prosecuted for the offence. Afterwards, on his making a proper application, he was allowed to return to France under an exemption, which was subject to special conditions prescribed by the War Office. Mr. Grahame-White, when he came over from France, failed to make any proper application for an exemption. A telephone message sent at the last moment by his London manager gave no particulars on which an exemption could be given. A few days later, when he applied to the Home Office for an exemption, giving proper notice and reasonable grounds for the application, the exemption was at once granted.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the French aeronaut, having once flown over a prohibited area, and so broken the law, was told to break the law again by flying back, while Mr. Grahame-White, though a British subject, was not allowed to break the law at all?


The French aeronaut was not breaking the law, for he had on the second time of flying received an exemption. Mr. Grahame-White, in similar circumstances, having given proper notice and stated grounds for his application, was at once granted permission. They were both put on precisely the same footing.

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