HC Deb 18 May 1916 vol 82 cc1646-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to Royal Naval Air Section Supply Memorandum, No. 10, 23rd March, 1916, which shows that the British Fire Prevention Committee, a self-appointed body, the moving spirit in which is Mr. Otto Sachs, a gentleman born of German parents and educated in Germany, and formerly of the Berlin Fire Brigade, is advising the Naval Air Section on matters of fire protection; if he aware that the offer of the services of the British Fire Prevention Committee was at first accepted by the Army-Council, under a misapprehension of that body's position in relation to the fire brigades, and afterwards the Army Council notified that committee that they were unable to avail themselves of its assistance; and will he say why it is necessary to consult this body when such expert advice can be obtained from the London Fire Brigade, or other properly constituted fire brigades?


The Memorandum in question was issued as a result of tests conducted in His Majesty's dockyards by the Departmental officers of the Admiralty responsible for advising in such matters, who, in their report, referred to the fact that their finding was corroborated by tests carried out independently by the British Fire Prevention Committee. I am not aware whether the statements made in the second part of the question are correct, and I suggest that this inquiry should be addressed to the War Office. My hon. Friend is mistaken in supposing that the British Fire Prevention Committee has been called upon to advise the Air Department in any way.


Is it not possible for the Admiralty, when they want advice, to go to a genuinely British concern instead of to one run by a gentleman of German origin?


I am afraid my hon. Friend did not hear the last sentence of my reply, as it is a complete answer to the supplementary question.


I am astonished!