HC Deb 03 April 1919 vol 114 cc1385-6
87. Mr. RAPER

asked the Under-Secretary of State to the Air Ministry if he is aware that about twenty Handley-Page machines, some with engines and some without, have been left uncovered in the wet at Hendon for periods varying from one month to three months, all through the recent bad weather, with the result that practically all of them are only now fit to be written off; whether the reason put forward for their being there is that there was no accommodation to house them; is he aware that the Kite Balloon Department offered to lend the Aeroplane Department portable sheds, originally built for the housing of kite balloons, but which would have accommodated the Handley-Page machines quite comfortably with their wings folded, and is he aware that these Handley-Page machines cost the country something like £200,000, that they are still standing out in the open rotting, and that the said kite balloon sheds are all carefully stored away in their folded-up condition, being eaten by rats?

Mr. PRATT (Lord of the Treasury)

The areoplanes in question are constructed to withstand exposure without permanent damage, and none of the Handley-Pages at Hendon have rotted in any way. Of the number stored there temporarily to await accommodation becoming available, the majority have now been either flown away or stored under cover at Hendon. Eight machines still remain in the open, and will be flown away as soon as circumstances permit. The proposal to erect kite balloon sheds would have involved an amount of labour not justified by the requirements of the case.


May I take it that every one of these machines is in perfect order?


I am sorry I cannot add anything to the answer I have already given my hon. Friend.