§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution.
There is an item in this Vote which includes payments made for 280 buildings taken under the. Defence of the Realm Regulations and compensation for damage, and I want to ask whether it is under this Vote that any payments made in respect of the land belonging to Lord Rosebery and the buildings on it are effected, or whether that comes under
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. E. KELLY
It is unfair to ask the right hon. Gentleman to carry in his head the details of a great many of these sub heads, and I recognize the difficulty he is placed in, but a contract which is made for the hire of a building is an important point, because people were willing to acquiesce in any action the authorities generally wished to take when war was on, but now that war is over and these buildings are being handed back to the previous owners, the particular contract between the owner and the War Office is of considerable importance. If the War Office and Air Force, for instance, had taken over a lengthy tenancy it would consequently increase the financial burden, which would be unnecessary if they were able to surrender the buildings at once. Further, there is a very great shortage of buildings in every city, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will see that buildings at present utilised by the Air Force should be handed over as soon as possible to the previous owners, giving the longest possible notice. There is also the consideration that, spread about, as all the buildings are, it must result in the work being done in an unsatisfactory way. A saving under this head might be affected if the right hon. Gentleman took steps to give up all these buildings, and to apply the money to housing in one building all the various Departments of the Air Ministry in a particular district or city. With regard to Item 2 of Sub-head C—scavenging, sanitary services, window-cleaning, etc., £26,000—will the right hon. Gentleman inform us whether these various services are done by the Royal Air Force or by outside contractors? If they are done by outside contractors, it might be possible to effect some considerable saving by forcing men to do these manual services in lieu of punishment, because in such a large force as the Air Force there must be a considerable number of punishments from day to day. If that suggestion were carried out, it would be a benefit both to the Royal Air Force and certainly to the public service, if it meant a reduction of this item of £26,000. There is the very large sum of £2,150,000 for clothing of the Royal Air Force, and a sum of £45,000 for clothing for the Women's Royal Force. I cannot help thinking that a portion of this very large sum is due to the fact that the uniforms for the Royal Air Force have been changed 282 from time to time. I think within the last twelve months the uniform has been changed twice. These changes, of course, must involve an increased charge upon the public purse. If the right hon. Gentleman can satisfy us on these points, it will go far to meet us.
§ Captain W. BENN
There is a point we did not raise in Committee—namely, Sub-head J, Medical Services. All medical authorities, I think, hold that there should be a separate medical service for the Air Force. In February last year there was a discussion on the subject, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman who was then in charge of the Air Force (Major Baird), speaking of this separate medical service for the Air Force, said that the difficulty was thatthe Army felt that the setting up at this moment of a fresh and altogether separate Medical Service might lead to friction and trouble."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1918, col. 962, Vol. 103.]It was this friction which, incidentally, was at the root of some of our objections to the joint office, but the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir W. Cheyne) made a very interesting speech—of course he speaks with the highest authority in this matter—pointing out that the pathological problems connected with the Air Force were absolutely different from those of diseases of people who worked on the ground. He pointed out the vast difference made by the constant change in height. He said that many people suffered from mountain sickness when climbing great heights, whereas, of course, anyone in an air machine might come down 20,000 feet to the ground in a very few minutes, and that that was a problem which obviously required special study by medical science. The hon. Baronet spoke also the importance in the air of a true binocular vision. I am not an expert, but I see hon. Members who are, and it is quite obvious that, in juging distance, a true binocular vision is very important, and scientists tell us we get the sense of the third dimension through having two eyes.
§ Captain BENN
Would I be in order in referring to the apparatus supplied to the Air Force for the purpose of medical inspection? It is a point about which I should like to have some information.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That point seems to me to be covered, so far as I understand it, under the term "Medical Stores and Supplies, including cost of medicine, surgical instruments and requisites." It comes within those, certainly.
§ Captain BENN
I shall, of course, be obedient to your ruling. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has in mind the items of equipment? The hon. and gallant Gentleman to whom I have referred was perfectly specific in his pledge to this House. He said thatAfter the War it must be obvious that a separate Medical Service for the Air Service is bound to come."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1918, col. 1052, Vol. 103.]That implies, of course, a separate medical equipment, and, in relation to that, there is the important question of the medical test of those who volunteer for the Air Force. The French and Italians have done a great deal of work in this direction. At Padua there is a very large laboratory for the purpose of instituting very accurate tests in respect of people who apply for commissions in the air service. A very important point is the rapidity with which reaction is given to a stimulus, because the moment a man sees the enemy he has to do his best to get out of the way or put himself in a position of attack. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman how far the work of Colonel Flack is being encouraged under this head—that is, the work of attempting, by means of definite scientific tests, to ascertain some standards by which a person's qualifications for service in this force can be measured? It is a very fruitful and very interesting subject about which we should like to hear what the right hon. Gentleman is doing. If he can also deal with the pledge given in the House to which I have referred he will go a good way to reassure those interested in the subject.
§ Mr. HOGGE
There are two questions I should like to ask with regard to this Vote. Under Sub-head A, Hire of Buildings, there is a sum of £190,000 for probable charges. Does that mean in respect of the hire of buildings which were taken under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, because the amount would seem to suggest that it includes compensation for buildings? I should like to know whether these buildings are to become a permanent habitation of the Air Force? With regard to Sub-head L, Appropriations-in- 284 Aid, I notice that Sub-heads E to F are for the amount of £545,000. I should rather like to know how this sum has been obtained, because I do not see how you could get very much from F unless there has been a sale of clothing in both the Royal Air Force and the Women's Air Force. Looking at E, I do not see how much could be obtained out of the first of those items. I am rather interested to know what has been sold to bring in these large revenues, and, if it has been done out of these two items, what kind of reduction will follow, because obviously further sales will take place.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I should like some information with respect to the item of £1,000 put down for the purchase and upkeep of horses, etc. What have horses to do with the Air Force? Is this for the carriages of the officers? The item also includes the cost of veterinary medicines and appliances. The right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, will be able to enlighten us as to what this means. It seems a substantial outlay for the purpose.
§ Captain REDMOND
Before this Vote is taken I think it would be well if the right hon. Gentleman could inform the House and the country whether the Government have yet decided upon the particular nature of the clothing of the Royal Air Force. I notice that Item F refers to clothing, and the figure is £2,195,000. As everyone knows, the clothing of the Royal Air Force has been decided, I suppose, in half a dozen different ways during the last few years. We do not know yet whether the Royal Air Force will wear khaki or blue. The officers of the Air Force are at least entitled to know where they stand in this regard. At one moment they are told they have to purchase a certain uniform of a certain colour and texture. The next moment they are told they must put this to one side, because the authorities have determined that they want the Royal Air Force to be a unit separate from the Army and Navy and that it is to be garbed in some beautiful royal firmanent blue. This is a consideration for the officers of the Air Force. To my knowledge and to the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge officers of that unit are not people of the same means as those who were in the Army before the War. They are men who are quite up to the standard as to brains, ability, youth, and integrity. They have proved their worth during the last three or four years. It is not because 285 these young men have social power or bank balances that they are in the Air Force. That being so, it is necessary that these young men should be told at once where they stand in regard to uniform. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain to the House what is the meaning of this £2,195,000 Vote which we are now asked to carry for the clothing of the Royal Air Force.
With regard to the points which have been raised by my hon. Friend near me (Mr. Devlin) as to the question of horses, we are asked for £1,000 for the charges and upkeep of horses appertaining to the Royal Air Force. Have any of these horses been purchased in Ireland? What price has been paid for them? Furthermore, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, and we are entitled to know, why the Air Force authorities have gone out of their way to buy. horses and not mules; and what is meant in regard to the medical services referred to and the hospital charges in respect to the Army and civil hospitals of £150,000 Has the right hon. Gentleman created any new hospitals? Where are these hospitals? Are they in Edinburgh, London, Dublin? All that we are told in this White Paper in relation to the medical services is Item No. 2 Hospital: charges in respect of Army and civil hospitals, £150,000. Is the right hon. Gentleman subsidising existing hospitals? It is treating the House in a very cavalier fashion to put items down in regard to horses and hospitals about which we are told very little. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give a little information upon the subject, and tell us whether he has purchased new horses or provided new hospitals. We want all the information that we can get concerning these new hospitals and the horses. My hon. Friend near me (Mr. Devlin) says, "Asses." We should know whether these horses have been purchased for the Government or whether it is asses for the War Office! It is all very well to ask the House to pass the Vote, without. expounding it or explaining policy, or even telling the House the facts. There is no hon. Member here who knows more about this item than what is put in the White Paper, £1,000 for horses and £150,000 for hospitals. It seems desirable that the right hon. Gentleman should explain exactly what is meant by these headings. If he does that satisfactorily, of course, I am sure he will get his Vote.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is not the slightest intention on the part of the Government of treating the House in the cavalier fashion suggested. I have endeavoured to satisfy the many questioners who have addressed questions to me to day, and from such unexpected quarters of the House. The £1,000 alluded to here is for horses required in respect of the area commands. There used to be eight. area commands of the Flying Force it, the United Kingdom in which horses were provided for the officers who had a war staff. We have reduced these areas to two— the inland and the sea-board area. The officers have a pretty wide district to cover. They are often equivalent in rank to a general officer and in respect to the duties they have to discharge, and they have to get over a good deal of ground. Horses have been purchased, not mules or asses.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am not quite sure whether the field over which the assesroam is not wider than that. Observations like that carry one back to one's early school-days, when jokes of the kind about the possession of asinine qualities by particular individuals were expected to pass muster; but I am really surprised that the hon. Gentleman should have fallen back upon it. So far as the medical services are concerned, the £150,000 is required to pay the hospitals on account of the disbursements to which they had been put. An airman ill or injured, where there is no other hospital, is taken to the nearest civilian hospital, and, of course, the bill comes in to us in due course.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
We are not building any new hospitals. On the contrary, the process this year has been the closing of hospitals on an enormous scale. The question of the appropriations-in-aid was referred to by, I think, the hon. Gentleman opposite. The sub-head he asked about refers to the rebate in the price of wool which has been arrived at. The story is a rather complicated one, and there is no need perhaps to go into it now. But the price of wool charged to the Air Force has been subject to a rebate and this accounts for the reduction. Then about the clothing. The hon. Gentleman was surprised that £45,000 should be spent on clothing for the 287 Woman's Royal Air Force. Attention has already been drawn to the fact that this average for 9,000 women only works out at £5 per head, and that does not seem to me to be excessive for the requirements of a considerable number of females.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am not strong at arithmetic, but I think that, as a matter of fact, five nines are 45.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Yes; I know. The hon. Member's intervention makes me wonder whether we ought not to hurry up over this Debate, and get on to the Education Bill.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Then a word as to the clothing of the men of the Royal Air Force. In the middle of the War when the Air Force was formed into a separate unit a new uniform of khaki was adopted. Now that the War is over it has been decided to make another change. It has been thought desirable to have a more modest and a more sober-hued cloth. It shows, however, the distinctive character of its design. This involves no additional expense, because we make the strictest rule that every officer has to wear out his old clothing, even the original khaki, before he adopts the new pattern. It is quite easy for the Air Farce to do that, because they can keep their old uniform for the dirty oily work which has to be done in regard to aeroplanes.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am coming to that. No waste has been incurred. This item arises in consequence of a change from the War Office, and it is a sum drawn by the
§ Royal Air Force during the War. The hon Member for Leith (Captain Bonn) referred to the special apparatus used for testing the efficiency of pilots. I have no reason to believe that the apparatus we have for this purpose in the Royal Air Force is in any way inferior to any apparatus in use in any other Air Force in the world. Nevertheless we shall do everything we can to keep such apparatus up to the highest possible level which the medical authorities can suggest. I can quite see that the medical service of the Royal Air Force, even if it should not be separated from the general medical service, must be a highly specialised branch, because the conditions require special aptitude, and we are all acquainted with the effect which flying produces on officers and men, and this makes it necessary that the medical service dealing with them should have had a specialised study of those conditions. Therefore I fully recognise that it must be a special branch of the medical service.
§ With regard to the contracts for the purchase of articles required by the medical service, they are purchased wholesale in order that the different Departments of State are not bidding against each other in a limited market, and this is done in order that the best conditions of wholesale purchase can obtain. Under item (c), Barrack Services and sanitary services, these are done by contract where the Royal Air Force personnel are not available, but where they are available they keep their own barracks clean in the ordinary way. Item (a) deals with the compensation paid for buildings taken under the Defence of the Realm Act. These are buildings taken at short notice, but in the main we have obtained our buildings under the Defence of the Realm Act, and in those cases the House is quite familiar with the process by which these claims are assessed and appealed against, and it is not necessary for me to embark upon this subject at any length. I trust I have now offered to the House a reasonable explanation of the points which have been raised.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes; 203; Noes, 45.289
|Division No. 159.]||AYES.||[5.35 p. m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Atkey, A. R.||Barton. Sir William (Oldham)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Baird, John Lawrence||Benn, Com. lan Hamilton (Greenwich)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. William James||Baldwin, Stanley||Benn, Captain W. (Leith)|
|Archdale, Edwald M.||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bennett, T. J.|
|Astor. Viscountess||Barrand, A. R.||Blake, Sir Francis Douglas|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar||Pearce, Sir William|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Gretton, Colonel John||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Breese, Major Charles||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Pinkham, Lt.-Colonel Charles|
|Briggs, Harold||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (Leic., Loughboro')||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry E.||Hacking, Colonol D. H.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Assheton|
|Crown, Captain D. C. (Hexham)||Hailwood, A.||Pratt, John William|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William J.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Burden, Colonel Rowland||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrintham)||Purchase, H, G.|
|Burn, Captain C. R. (Torquay)||Hancock, John George||Rao, H. Norman|
|Burn, T. H. (Bellast)||Hanna, G. B.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Campion, Colonel W. R.||Hanson, Sir Charles||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Haslam, Lewis||Raper, A. Baldwin|
|Carr, W. T.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Raw, Lt.-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Rees, Captain J. Tudor|
|Casey, T. W.||Hilder, Lt.-Colonel F.||Reid, D. D.|
|Cantley, Henry Strother||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Cayzer, Major H. R.||Hoare, Lt.-Colonel Sir Samuel J. G.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Eeclesall)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. E. (Aston Manor)||Hope, Lieut-col. Sir J. (Midlothian)||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radner)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hopkinson, Austin (Messley)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Roundell, Lt.-Colonel R. F.|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Hunter, Gen. Sir Archibald (Lancaster)||Rowlands, James|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hurd, P. A.||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)|
|Clough, R.||Inskip, T. W. H.||Sanders, colonel Robert A.|
|Cockirill, Brig.-General G. K.||Jephcott, A. R.||Seddon, James|
|Cockerill, Brig. -General R. B.||Jellett, William Morgan||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Jesson, C.||Simm, M. T.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smitners, Sir Alfred W.|
|Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Stanier, Captain Sir Seville|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.)||Kerr-Smiley, Major P.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G, (Preston)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Kidd, James||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Crolt, Brig. -General Henry Page||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Stephonson, Colonel H. K.|
|Davies, Sir Davison (Brlxton)||Law, A. J. (Rochdalo)||Sturrock, J. Long-|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgew)||Sugden, Lieut. W. H.|
|Davies, T. (Clrencester)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Davies, M. Vaugnan- (Cardigan)||Lorden, John William||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lowe, Sir F. W.||Taylor, J. (Dumbarton)|
|Dennis, J. W.||Lynn, R. J.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (M'yhl.)|
|Denniss, E. R. Bartley (Oldham)||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Stirling)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Dixon, Captain H.||M'Guffin, Samuel||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Dockrell, Sir M.||Macmaster, Donald||Vickers, D.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||McMlcking, Major Gilbert||Waddington, R.|
|Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Wallace, J.|
|Edge, Captain William||Macquisten, F. A.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Wardle, George J.|
|Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham)||Waring, Major Walter|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Matthews, David||Welgall, Lt.-Colonel W. E. G. A.|
|Fails, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Middiebrook, Sir William||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Moles, Thomas||Whitla, Sir William|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavlstock)|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Foreman, H.||Morison, T. B. (Inverness)||Wilson, Col. M. (Richmond, Yorks.)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)||Wood, Maior Hon. E. (Ripon)|
|Foxcrott, Captain C.||Mount, William Arthur||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Ganzoni, captain F. C.||Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)|
|Gardiner, J. (Perth and Kinross)||Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)||Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Colonel John||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)||Young, William (Perth and Kinross)|
|Glanville. Harold James||Oman, C. W. C.||Younger, Sir George|
|Goff, Sir Park||O'Neill, Capt. Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Gould, J. C.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Captain|
|Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A.||Palmer, Major G. M. (Jarrow)||F. Guest and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Grant, James Augustus||Parry, Lt.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hallas, E.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bell. James (Ormskirk)||Harbison, T.J. S.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Widnes)||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
|Bramsdon, Sir T.||Hickman, Brig. -General Thomas E.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Briant, F.||Hirst, G. H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Bromfield, W.||Hogge, J. M.||Thorne, W. (Plaistow)|
|Cairns, John||Irving, Dan||Tootill, Robert|
|Cape, Tom||Kelly, Edward J. (Donegal. E.)||Walsh, S. (Ince, Lanes.)|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Kenworthy, Lieut-Commander||Waterson, A. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kenyon, Barnet||Wignall, James|
|Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)||Lawson, John||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davies, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Young, Robert (Newton, Lancs.)|
|Edwards. C. (Bedwellty)||Newbould, A. E.|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Onions, Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Mr. Devlin and Captain Redmond,|
Third Resolution read a second time.