§ 10. Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the German reports as to the shooting down by the Turks of old British aeroplanes endeavouring to get food into Kut; whether these aeroplanes are some which did reconnaissance work in the Sinai district but were so bad that they were transferred from there to Mesopotamia more than a month ago, being replaced by new machines in the Egyptian Army?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I very much regret that I have not been able to get my answers down in time to give the answers to the House of Commons. I should like to inform the House that I have been engaged in drafting the answers to my questions since I left the Local Government Board, where we had a conference on the Military Service Bill, until this moment, and it has been impossible for the War Office to get the answers typewritten in time. The consequence is that they have not yet come down. I have told them to send the answers down, as I drafted them in my own hand, at once, so that I hope they will be here immediately. It was impossible to get the work done in the time.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the best plan will be to go through the questions, and by the time we have got through them once, perhaps the answers may have come down.
§ After Question 81 had been answered,
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Perhaps we may make an exception upon this occasion and go back to Question 10, as I understand that the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for War has now got his answers.
§ Mr. TENNANT
A recent Turkish Communiqué stated that the dropping of flour into Kut by aeroplane was stopped by 640 Turkish battleplanes shooting down the British machines. The General Officer Commanding in Mesopotamia reports that between the 11th and 29th of April the British aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service dropped into Kut-el-Amara 16,800 lbs. of food, in addition to quantities of medical and other stores and mails. No aeroplanes already in use in Egypt or the Sinai district were sent to Mesopotamia, though some of the personnel were. During these operations there were numerous aerial combats, in one of which a British seaplane was driven down in the enemy's lines, the observer being killed and the pilot wounded. On another occasion the pilot of a British machine was wounded and his machine damaged, but he succeeded in landing safely behind the British lines. These were the only casualties suffered during the operation. The House will thus see that this is a characteristic German report.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Seeing that we have so many of these characteristic German reports, could the right hon. Gentleman, for the benefit of the entire nation, make occasionally some such satisfactory statement as he has just made? It would not have been made if the question had not been put down.