HC Deb 22 June 1915 vol 72 cc1042-3
8. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, since the beginning of the War, any inventions useful to the conduct of the War have emanated from the War Office; whether any body exists at the War Office whose duty it is to examine, report upon, and, if necessary, take steps to foster inventions or promising suggestions of inventions; whether, since the beginning of the War, the War Office has at any time discouraged inventors or placed insurmountable obstacles in their way; and whether he can state what steps the War Office will take to make available, as far as possible, the inventive talent even of civilians who have made a study of implements or machines capable of being advantageously used in the War?


The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. The answer to the third part is that considering the multitude of suggestions, some of which are ingenious but many of which are wholly valueless, this Department has displayed an amazing and praiseworthy patience. The desirability of extending and co-ordinating the organisation at present available for considering and dealing with inventions is now being considered.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how he will treat an inventor who has a valuable idea but has not the necessary mechanical skill to bring it into effect? Would the War Office encourage him?


I think I can promise the hon. Gentleman that if an invention has any possibility at all of being useful to the War Office it will certainly be encouraged.

45. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Prime Minister whether, apart from the good offices of the Royal Society, there is any institution under Governmental control, or acting in co-operation with any department of State, whose duty it is to examine not merely completed inventions but promising suggestions which, by the application of trained electrical, chemical, or mechanical skill, could be made effective; whether any serviceable invention whatever has emanated from the Royal Society since the beginning of the War; and, if not, whether he will cause attention to be directed to the system established in France for fostering inventions and will, without undue delay, set up a similar system in this country?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

The technical branches of the Admiralty and the War Office have very complete facilities for carrying out the duties referred to in the first part of the question, and in many cases the staffs of these Departments have been very considerably increased to enable them to deal effectively with the flood of inventions received during the War. With regard to the second part of the question, the Government are glad of this opportunity to acknowledge publicly the very valuable assistance received from the Royal Society, which has contributed several valuable inventions, the nature of which it would not be in the public interest to disclose. The Government are well aware of the importance of this matter, and the present system is now under review. The French system is receiving consideration.