HC Deb 15 March 1916 vol 80 cc2054-5

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether the responsible officers at the head of the Royal Naval Air Service at any time put forward proposals or views urging that rigid airships should be built; if so, in what year and by whom; (2) if he will say what decision was arrived at in September, 1911, by Prince Louis of Battenberg and by Sir A. K. Wilson with respect to the proposal then before them for the construction of a Zeppelin; and (3), whether at the start of the War the Admiralty was constructing a Zeppelin; and, if so, what happened to it?


My right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, in his speech of 7th March, said as much about the earlier policy of the Government in connection with the construction of lighter-than-air craft as seems desirable. He does not think that anything can be gained by reverting to pre-war controversies. The rigid airship which was under construction for the Admiralty at the beginning of the War is now being completed.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that experts are agreed as to the great difficulty of attacking Zeppelins when over this country, and are unanimous that effective attacks can be delivered on Zeppelin sheds; and whether the latter policy is still being followed by the Admiralty?


I can add nothing to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the First Lord to a similar un-starred question asked by my hon. Friend yesterday.


asked the Under-Secretary for War if the Government .will take immediate steps to request the various railway companies and river and port authorities to extinguish all signals and other lights on railways, rivers and docks during any period of active Zeppelin visitation, wherever trains and other traffic are brought to a standstill, as signal and other lights of similar description have proved a direct guide to large cities and towns that have recently been raided?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Tennant)

This matter is one entirely within the control of the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, the Home Forces, who can, and I am sure will, issue all the instructions which may be necessary to secure the objects which my hon. Friend desires.


asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the hardship that has been occasioned to widows and children of civilians who have been killed by Zeppelins in recent raids; and whether he will consider the propriety of awarding them some compensation from public funds?

The MINISTER of MUNITIONS (Mr. Lloyd George)

The National Relief Fund is available for the purpose of granting temporary assistance in such cases, but I regret that I am unable to make any promise of assistance from public funds.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman see that there is every similarity between these cases and those who have suffered from death through bombardment—there is no difference in principle?


Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that compensation is given for property and not for human life in these cases?