HC Deb 08 June 1920 vol 130 cc214-5
43. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Air what is intended to be done with the ex-German rigid airship L 71; will it eventually be used for commercial, naval, or military purposes; and, if commissioned for Government use, what will be the estimated annual cost to the Crown?

44. Viscount CURZON

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether L 71 Zeppelin airship has as yet been surrendered; where she will be stationed and to what use it is proposed to put this airship; how many airships are now under construction; and what use it is proposed to make of them when completed?


The airship L 71 has not yet been surrendered. It is expected that she will be handed over within the next few weeks, and the intention is that she should be housed in the first instance at Pulham, Norfolk, Airship Station. Airships under construction at the end of the War and still completing are R 36, R 37, R 38, and R 80. Of these the R 38 will be handed over under arrangements made for sale to the United States of America when completed. Work on the other three is proceeding slowly in anticipation of an arrangement being made for their employment for commercial purposes. This question, it is hoped, will shortly be decided. The ultimate disposal of L 71 will also be settled in all probability by the same decision. In any case, it is anticipated that information of great value will be obtained from the trials of this German airship. The annual cost to the Crown if this vessel were to be commissioned for Government use, will be very largely dependent on the amount of airship material obtainable under the terms of the Peace Treaty from Germany and the present condition of the ship. It is, therefore, impossible at present to give any useful estimate of the amount.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say why this airship has not already been handed over by Germany? Was it not completed?


Yes. I think it was completed. We are not at all dissatisfied with the way they are carrying out this portion of the Treaty.