HC Deb 10 May 1916 vol 82 cc654-5
20. Mr. R. M'NEILL

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that an official communiqué was issued by the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, Home Forces, on the 3rd of May, in which it was announced that on that day a hostile aeroplane dropped six bombs on the railway station at Deal, whereas in fact no bomb was dropped on the railway station or did any damage there; if he will say how this inaccurate report came to be included in an official communiqué; and why in this instance the practice hitherto observed of not mentioning by name the exact locality where bombs are dropped, was departed from?


If the railway station at Deal did not have bombs dropped on to it, that was so much the better for the railway station. The first telegraphic reports received led to the belief that the bombs had fallen on, instead of near, the station. As regards the last part of the question, I am not clear whether the hon. Member desires that names of localities should, or should not, be mentioned as a general rule. In any case, it rests with the military authorities to decide whether the names may, or may not, be given.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the part of the question which asks how it came about that an inaccurate report was given, and whether we may trust that in the future official communiqués will be accurate?


It occurred through a telegram being received at general headquarters, I suppose, from a reporter who was a rather inaccurate observer.

47. Mr. FELL

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now fix a day for the discussion on the Air Service raised on the Address by the hon. Member for Brentford?


I must refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for East Herts yesterday.