HC Deb 19 October 1915 vol 74 cc1618-9
100. Mr. BRYCE

asked the Home Secretary whether he will give instructions that when a Zeppelin raid is expected all the lights on the bridges over the Thames should be extinguished, so that the course of the river should not be distinguished; and that either the service of tramcars along the Embankment and across the bridges should be suspended or that the lights in the tramcars should be extinguished?


The present arrangements have been settled on the advice of the expert officers of the Admiralty. If further observations show that any improvement is possible, the arrangements will be modified accordingly. The lights in tramcars are now extinguished in crossing the bridges, or so shaded as to be practically invisible.

101. Mr. BRYCE

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that up to the time of the Zeppelin raid of 13th October blinds were usually undrawn on the trains on the South-Eastern and Chatham line between Woolwich and London; and, seeing that no notices requesting blinds to be drawn were posted in the carriages on that line, will he say what steps he will take to enforce these precautions?


I am informed by the railway company that notices requesting passengers to keep blinds drawn down after dark have been posted in their trains for nearly twelve months. Steps are now being taken on this and other lines in the London area to post fresh notices in more imperative terms drawing attention to the penalties for non-compliance with the order, and the company's servants will have instructions to see that the order is complied with.


Is it not the fact that even as late as last week, while those raids were going on, those railway carriages from Woolwich were constantly coming up without the blinds drawn and without any notices posted up in the carriages? I know that from my own daughter, who has been going down there to do munition work.


Is it not also the fact that the railway servants endeavour to do their duty and that this is due to the carelessness of the passengers?

105. Mr. BRYCE

asked whether the aeroplanes which had been on duty for the defence of London received orders to demobilise at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 13th October, a few hours before the Zeppelin raid; whether any other aeroplanes had received orders to take their place; and whether, at the time of the arrival of the Zeppelins, any and, if so, how many aeroplanes were aloft?


Questions relating to aeroplanes on duty for the defence of London should be addressed to the Admiralty. The aeroplanes under military control which were held in readiness to attack hostile aircraft were not ordered to demobilise at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 13th October. The second part of the question does not therefore arise. The reply to the last part is in the affirmative. During the time the Zeppelins were over England five military aeroplanes ascended. Of these, three were in the air at the same time.


How many were over London?


Three, I think.