HC Deb 07 May 1913 vol 52 cc2015-8

asked the right hon. Gentleman if it is his intention to create a reserve of personnel for the Naval Flying Wing?


The answer is in the affirmative. The rules are now under consideration.

16. Colonel BURN

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers of the Royal Flying Corps there are whom he classes as flying officers; and how many men who fly at the present time?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

There are 135 officers who have obtained the Royal Aero Club certificate. Of these eighty-two are fully qualified first-class pilots. Nineteen warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men belonging to the wing are now undergoing instruction; of these twelve are second-class pilots.

17. Colonel BURN

asked how many pilots there are in the Royal Flying Corps who can fly high-powered machines at the rate of seventy miles an hour?

Colonel SEELY

It is impossible to say how many officers can fly a machine at the rate of seventy miles an hour, as a considerable number of our machines have a speed of between sixty and seventy miles an hour. It is clearly impossible to say that the officers who are capable of flying these machines are incapable of flying at greater speeds. If information is desired as to the number of officers who have flown machines at seventy miles an hour it can be obtained, but we have never accepted this speed as in any way a standard for military purposes.


asked whether there is yet one single squadron of the Royal Flying Corps equipped with the necessary eighteen effective machines, together with mechanical transport and the necessary accommodation for housing the machines?

Colonel SEELY

It is not considered to be in the interests of the Service to publish the information required.


Was it in the interests of the public service to state that these squadrons would be efficiently equipped, and, if so, why is it not in the public interest to answer this question?

Colonel SEELY

In no other country, so far as I have been able to ascertain, is information given of the precise state of affairs of any branch of the forces, and we do not propose to give such information unless there is very good reason for it.


Does the right hon. Gentleman still contend that our Army is the best equipped of any Army in the world with regard to these necessities of modern warfare?

Colonel SEELY

I do not know that that arises out of this question. I believe we have the best pilots, and I believe in many respects we have some of the best machines. We can hardly discuss it at Question Time.


asked what is the organisation of the Royal Flying Corps as regards its administrative side in the War Office; how many officers are employed in this; and what salaries are paid to them?

Colonel SEELY

The work connected with the Corps at the War Office is performed by branches which deal with similar matters for other services. The Secretary of the Flying Corps Committee receives £500 a year.


asked (1) whether in the list of 101 machines produced to Lord Montagu as being effective aeroplanes, there were included two Avros and two Breguets which had previously been smashed; (2) how many biplanes and monoplanes, respectively, have been delivered to the Royal Flying Corps since the 19th March last; and (3) whether he will give a Return or list of the 101 effective aeroplanes mentioned to Lord Montagu, stating when and where they were purchased, what was paid for them, and when and by whom they were tested and passed as efficient?

Colonel SEELY

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made on the introduction of Army Estimates on 19th March, and replies to subsequent questions on 27th March, 2nd, 16th, 22nd, and 23rd April, to which I have nothing to add.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman produce, long after the date mentioned, a statement of machines to Lord Montagu, and should not the same information be available to every Member of this House?

Colonel SEELY

I said, when a similar question was asked me before, that if any responsible Gentleman on either side of the House wished to see the documents I put before Lord Montagu I should be only too glad to show it him. The difficulty in regard to the hon. Gentleman is that nothing that happens seems to have any effect on his belief that I or my advisers are not able to tell him the truth. He is wrong. We are.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the arrangements made with the Press whereby the doings of the Royal Flying Corps are not reported in the newspapers, he will explain why it is advisable that the reports recently issued of experiments in connection with Artillery fire carried out by officers of No. 3 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, on Salisbury Plain should have been reported with official sanction or not; whether the names of the officers and the machines flown by them in the course of these experiments have been supplied to the Press officially; and whether he will consider whether it is in the public interest that these doings should be kept as secret as the names of the makers and the respective capabilities of the other machines in possession of the Army?

Colonel SEELY

It is presumed that the reports mentioned are those included in the communiques issued weekly by the War Office on the work of the Royal Flying Corps. These communiques contain information which it is considered may, with due regard to the interests of the Service, be published.

35. Captain FABER

asked how many aeroplanes in the possession of the Royal Flying Corps, exclusive of the Royal Aircraft Factory or the Central Flying School, are able now to meet the specifications laid down eighteen months ago, namely, a minimum speed of fifty-five miles per hour, a carrying capacity of 350 pounds, in addition to fuel, for four and a half hours, a three hours' flight at a height of 4,500 feet with the above load, and a climbing speed of 200 feet a minute fully loaded; and if he will state the equivalent number on 19th March of this year?

Colonel SEELY

The conditions stated in the question are not those on which aeroplanes have been or are being ordered.