HC Deb 20 March 1928 vol 215 cc285-347

1. "That a number of Air Forces, not exceeding 32,500, all ranks, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom at Home and Abroad, exclusive of those serving in India, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929."

2. "That a sum, not exceeding £3,401,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of the Pay, etc., of His Majesty's Air Force at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929."

3. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,700,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of the Works, Buildings, Repairs, and Lands of the Air Force, including Civilian Staff and other Charges connected therewith, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929."

4. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,711,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Quartering, Stores (except Technical), Supplies, and Transport of the Air Force, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929."

5. "That a sum, not exceeding £6,567,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Technical and Warlike Stores of the Air Force (including Experimental and Research Services), which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929."

Captain GUEST

On a point of Order. May I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that on Monday, 12th March, it was impossible for the Secretary of State for Air to answer several very important points of principle, notably with regard to civil aviation, which had been raised on the Motion that you do leave the Chair. May I also remind you that you suggested to the Secretary of State that he should deal upon the Committee stage of Vote A with certain questions which had been raised in the pre-

vious Debate, but that, owing to the strict application of the Rules of Order by Mr. Deputy-Speaker, it proved impossible for the Secretary of State to give such a reply. Lastly, may I remind you that a number of hon. Members feel that the question of civil aviation is a most important one and that unless you are willing to allow a more general discussion on the Report stage of these Votes, they will be deprived of all opportunity of obtaining the Government's reply upon what they consider a vital question. I respectfully ask you, therefore, whether you will on this occasion allow a more general discussion to take place, especially in view of the fact that the details of the Votes now under consideration were discussed on the Committee stage.


I think it will meet the case if I take the same course on Vote A of the Air Estimates that I have taken earlier to-day on the similar Vote for the Army. I understand that that will meet the views of hon. Members, and, if so, I propose to follow that course, which will allow the latitude which the hon. and gallant Member desires.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I beg to move, to leave out "32,500," and to insert instead thereof "32,400."

I move this Token Vote to reduce the force by 100 men in order to give the Secretary of State an opportunity of answering the various questions put by hon. and right hon. Members on the Committee stage. I particularly want him to answer one point which I raised, in addition to the question of civil aviation, on which I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Bristol, North (Captain Guest). The question with which I would like him to deal is this; Who is responsible for the defence of merchant ships at sea against aircraft? Is it a matter for the Admiralty or the Air Ministry, and what are the arrangements made to meet that threat in the unfortunate event of a future war?


I beg to second the Amendment.


I should like to ask the Secretary of State certain questions, all of which were touched upon in the Debate last week, and to preface them by a few observations. A Debate on the Air Estimates is always of peculiar interest to specialists and amateurs in aircraft, for this very important reason, that when we vote money for the Air Estimates we can feel that we are not necessarily voting money which will be spent on something that will destroy or be destroyed. Whatever the particular inventions may be, and they come along regularly every year in the science of aviation, whether it be a question of speed, carrying capacity, landing facilities or an increase in the margin of safety, one feels that although these inventions aim on the one hand to be of great use from the military point of view, on the other they may bring immense advantages to civilisation generally. Every year the old quotation becomes truer, that: Air power to be effective and permanent must be based on sound economic developments for peace purposes, and that on any other basis its maintenance must be artificial and superficial in times of peace. Compared with any other form of armament, aircraft is relatively economical. Take, for instance, the campaign in the spring of 1925. The whole campaign cost £76,000 and two persons were killed on our side and 11 on the side of our opponents. The result of that campaign was that all the tribes came in and agreed to what was considered necessary. Compare that with the campaign which took place in 1921 and which cost £476,000 per month. I am not suggesting that the two occasions were analogous, because I understand that at that time there were not half a dozen aeroplanes in India that could leave the ground.

I should like to pay my humble meed of tribute to the work which the Air Force has done in Iraq. I was privileged to see something of it myself, and I do most sincerely believe that if we had tried to carry out our mandate to preserve law and order in that country by any other means except through the Air Force it would have cost us many additional millions of money and many additional lives as well. Take one other instance, the flight to Australia the other day in an aeroplane which cost only £700. The whole expenses of that flight were less than £50. I want to ask the Secretary of State for Air certain questions in regard to the power of aeroplanes to attack naval craft. It is generally admitted that the power of attack in regard to aeroplanes has greatly exceeded the power of defence. Anti-aircraft guns in the present stage of development are a very inadequate form of protection. It has been described as trying to shoot a lark with a rifle on a cloudy day. In the United States of America very comprehensive and exhaustive experiments have been carried out in regard to the power of attack of aeroplanes on battleships of all kinds, and the conclusion which the Committee which dealt with the matter came to was as follows: As a result of the experiments it is the opinion of the Committee that under proper conditions aeroplanes can put out of commission or sink any naval craft afloat. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to build any type of naval craft of sufficient strength to withstand the destructive power of the largest bombs which aeroplanes may be able to carry from a shore base or sheltered harbour. There are experts who say that our Fleet to-day would be totally incapable of defending this country from a knock-out blow delivered by a land base air force, and equally incompetent to protect our food supplies against an air attack on the vessels bringing them to this country. We have no Minister of Defence in this country to whom questions of this kind can be addressed, and, therefore, it is reasonable to ask the Secretary of State for Air for an answer. I should like to know what experiments have been made in regard to smoke screens. In a recent book an amazing description is given of a smoke screen of 10 square miles and 50 to 100 feet thick caused by 100 aeroplanes a thousand feet high. Have we made any experiments on these lines? What is the power of the latest form of explosive in bombs as against the latest form of armament? It is maintained that a mishit from a bomb may do equal if not more damage than a direct hit. What is the power of destruction of a bomb dropped within 50 yards of the propeller of a battleship?

Again, what developments have been taking place in regard to aerial torpedoes? I understand that the degree of accuracy which has now been reached up to distances of five or six miles is very remarkable indeed. I want to know what experiments we have been making. What have we spent? What co-operation is there between the Admiralty and the Air Force? After all, an aeroplane may cost £700, or at the most £7,000, whilst a battleship costs nearly a thousand times as much, and surely it is high time that experiments were made and constant communications ensured between the two Departments, the Admiralty and the Air Force, as to the latest experiments on these lines. One cannot forget that in this country we spent £40,000,000 upon our roads before we spent a single pound to try and find out what was the best surface with which to cover them. I hope the Secretary of State will reply to the constructive proposition put forward by the right hon. and gallant Member for North Bristol (Captain Guest) in regard to short-service pilots. I desire to say something on almost identically the same lines as the right hon. Member for North Bristol. If you could insist that every plane run by Imperial Airways should carry not one qualified pilot and one wireless specialist but two trained pilots upon all occasions, it would not only add to the safety of the passengers but would provide those pilots which we require in this country, and would remedy what is generally admitted to be the unsatisfactory conditions which govern short-service pilots to-day.

One final matter, and that is in regard to the development of aircraft combined with the development of the Empire. It is quite clear that commercial aviation will probably never be a financial success in this country owing to the shortness of distances between important places. People will all prefer to travel by train from London to Birmingham or Edinburgh rather than go by air, although there will be occasions when samples can be brought by air in much shorter time than by train. But, on the whole, I do not think commercial aviation has much of a future in this country. It seems to me however that it is of vital importance in the development of certain parts of the Empire. There are large tracts in Australia to-day which have been entirely developed by the use of the aeroplane. Obviously, it is uneconomic to lay down roads or railways for the benefit of a very small section of the community. You can take the produce which the settlers grow along rough tracks drawn by bullocks or horses, there is no necessity for speed, but the important thing is that you should be able to bring the settlers once a week to some centre of civilisation, which may be anything from a barber's shop to a cinema.

Take again those vast areas in Canada. What a godsend during the long winter months for the settlers to know that once a week an aeroplane will go by which they can get to the nearest centre of civilisation. This entirely excludes what are called health and healing planes, that is, those aeroplanes which take patients to hospital for certain operations and which bring doctors to the bedside of an invalid, when if he had to take the ordinary means of transport he would probably arrive too late. Finally, in West Africa I know of a settler who employs in the management of his ranch three aeroplanes, and instead of taking 8½ hours to get to Nairobi he can do it in 40 minutes. He says that it is a definite economy in the management of his estate to employ aeroplanes. I hope the old tag, that civil aviation must fly by itself, will not be too literally interpreted in the future by the Secretary of State. It is only by a judicious and generous treatment by the Secretary of State of civil aviation that we can get an adequate and efficient air force which, in my opinion, is essential both in peace and war to the prosperity and future of our Empire.

7.0 p.m.

Captain GUEST

Your ruling, Sir, has enabled us to travel over a wider ground than we should have been able to do otherwise, and I think it will be of assistance and advantage to the Secretary of State as well as to many of us. I have to make an apology to the Secretary of State for my absence on Monday evening when he was replying to the Debate, but I had been informed by the Chairman that the subjects which had been referred to could not receive a reply, and I trust, therefore, that he will acquit me of any discourtesy in the matter. Various points have been touched upon by hon. Members in the course of the Debate, and one must have noticed that there is a general feeling throughout the House that this Department which is still in its infancy is full of intense possibilities, and that the Secretary of State would find a very willing House behind him if he asked for more cash, or, if he did not ask for more cash, if he tried a rearrangement of expenditure on the fighting Services with his colleagues in the Cabinet.

This evening I want to refer more especially to civil aviation. Although I know that the Treasury is the chief obstacle with which the Secretary of State has to wrestle, I would like to remind him that his colleague the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1920, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself was responsible for the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman now presides, put down in his mind that £1,000,000 a year should be devoted to civil aviation. That was more or less the position, although the money was not spent, in the year when I became Secretary for Air. I remember, in 1922, asking for a civil aviation programme which I hoped would be far-reaching, but it was found impossible to produce a programme which involved more than £420,000. I was very keen as to the possibilities of the air in those days, but, not having very far-seeing plans of my own, I let it go by default. When you think that six years later the total amount spent in this country on civil aviation is only £260,000 a year, there must be some truth in the saying that there appears to be no civil aviation policy at all. During the last nine or 10 years, if you study the Estimates, so far as I can make out, this country has not spent more than £1,500,000 or £1,750,000 in civil aviation.

If it be a fact that there are great policies boiling in the mind of the Director-General of Civil Aviation and generating in the heart of the Secretary of State, if it be the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer stops them, then this House, when it has thoroughly grasped the situation and realised the pathetic figure we spend in comparison with other countries, will come to the support of the Secretary of State in no uncertain manner. In order to do so, the House must be apprised of these comparative figures. Although it is unpleasant to quote figures, it is vital that they should be disproved if they are wrong and accepted if they are right. I was working out the mileage flown by Germany last year, and it is nearly 4,000,000 miles. In France the mileage was 3,200,000, and in Great Britain only 800,000. There is another figure which shows the way in which the air sense of other countries is going ahead of our own, and which is obtained from accurate sources. It is the number of passengers carried on the German commercial planes last year. The figure is 187,000. Some of them were long journeys and some short journeys. The figure in this country is only from 22,000 to 25,000. The disparity is too great, and I am satisfied that something more could be done when one judges the lack of policy by these figures.

The question of subsidies has been much debated in this House, and I know that there are two schools of thought. The hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet), who has just sat down, reminded us that some people think that civil aviation must fly by itself and that the policy of subsidies generally is a vicious one. Those who oppose the subsidy policy must pause and reconsider their point of view, because if you do not subsidise you will drop back and allow other countries who do subsidise to go so far ahead that you will not catch them up. They have been developing their routes with many thousands of flying persons per month. They have developed a flying sense with which we shall find it extremely hard to catch up. I do not want in any words that I may use to suggest that this is a potential military danger. There was a speech on Monday last from these benches by one hon. and gallant Member who said, "you may take it which way you like. You may discuss the subject, and say the aeroplane is more valuable as a peaceful weapon, but it is no good maintaining, if trouble does occur, that it could not be used as a most deadly weapon." Therefore, if other countries are going ahead in the production of machines and with flying, there is no doubt that they would be capable in a few weeks or months, of turning them into very dangerous weapons of attack.

I pass to two or three other considerations which I think are fundamental to the formation of a real, national policy of civil aviation. The first one has been most ably described to the House by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down. It is that the success of the activities of any company in far off lands like Australia, the East, Africa, or in any of the great wide Dominions attached to the Empire, must not be gauged by the percentage of profit to the company or by what is paid for freight or the number of passengers carried. The success of the operations must be gauged by the gradual development of the settler and the meeting of his needs by this method of rapid transport. It may be years before the company can ever get 6d. back on its money, but in 10 years' time you would have homes, families, and cultivated land in these wide territories which would bring you back from your Empire an immense return both in men, materials, and happiness. The little money needed from the State to subsidise air lines to Africa or Australia is a fraction compared with the valuable results which would be achieved.

There is another consideration of rather a different nature, which is somewhat debatable, and upon which I should like to have the opinion of the Secretary of State. The particular difficulty with which we are faced in this country is that we are, so to speak, at the end of everything. We are a very small country, and we are not on the way to anywhere in particular. We cannot get to Europe without crossing a somewhat hazardous Channel. I am not sure that we have quite the right conception of the centre of the Empire. It is true that wealth has accumulated in London, but, from the point of view of rapid transport for the Empire, the value of which is not denied, perhaps it would be better if our Croydon was in Egypt and if some more central spot was chosen from which this great aerial activity could take place. That is just a suggestion—not entirely new—but one which is put forward and which may have more in it than meets the eye.

There is one other point in this connection. We are very obviously a seaplane Power, or should be. We have to cross the ocean almost within 50 or 60 miles of our capital, and in order to get to our far-flung Dependencies large tracts of water have to be crossed. Every time anyone flies in an aeroplane across the sea, particularly when he cannot see across them, it is undoubtedly facing a very considerable, if not a serious, risk. It is not that a boat or seaplane is an absolute safeguard. The weather may be too rough and may sink any small craft, but I am perfectly convinced that, if you take a chart of the average day of the average year, there would not be perhaps more than 20 per cent. of the days on which a really well-planned, well-designed and well-constructed seaplane could not land. I have an idea that the accident which brought some of those who attempted to cross the Atlantic down was a very simple one and that if they had made the attempt in boats sufficiently powerful and large to carry the petrol required it is quite likely that they would have come down and done what was necessary to put the engine right and then have gone on again with greater safety than has been the case up till now. It is for that reason that shipping must be linked up with air services, and the only form of air service which can be linked up with shipping is the seaplane service. I would like to see at Southampton a seaplane base run under the auspices of the Civil Aviation Department. I would like to see it with ships and seaplanes as part of one service. I crossed the other day with the director of one of the big lines in Europe, and he wired at once to his firm to send a plane to meet him at Cherbourg. It struck me at once that he thereby saved 12 or 14 hours of laborious train journey and changes. A shipping and seaplane service at one time or another should be thought out in the form of a direct link.

There is one other point, and that is the question of the freedom of the air. I do not know whether the Secretary of State can tell us a little more about it. Why is there the difficulty in the Persian section? That great route which ought to be available to us between Basra and Karachi is not really available. There may be some diplomatic reason, but I have half an idea that it is parsimony. I believe, if we had been ready to put our hands in our pockets to pay for our way leave or air leave, we should have got it. I do not think that we should be denied any kind of permission to cross any other country because of the lack of reasonable expenditure. Other speakers have supported the contention that I made on Monday that the convertibility and inter-dependence of civil and military aviation were becoming more and more proved. The suggestion I made that the short service commission term might be readjusted with a view to stimulating a longer period of activity in the air than is possible to the present officer will, I hope, receive some thought from the Ministry.

In conclusion, I should like to mention the national need of a permanent, assured and prosperous aircraft industry. The proposals which we have suggested to the Secretary of State, namely, a really bold expenditure and an elaborate Imperial civil air route development, will give you what you will find you need most if trouble ever comes, an assured, prosperous and well-employed aircraft industry. There is an argument in favour of it which will appeal to the benches on my right. The numbers and class of men employed in the aircraft factories are greater per object produced than in any other trade or industry. The number of men whose skill is needed in producing that wonderful piece of mechanism, the aeroplane, is vast as compared with either the value or the size of the aeroplane. It seems to me that, when you are discharging men from dockyards and cutting down naval construction programmes, there is a chance of re-employing and re-engaging men who are practically of a similar type of skill and experience, or who, if they have not got that, would learn it very rapidly indeed. We want numbers of machines and money from the State to assist us to catch up, and, if he does that, the Secretary of State will be remembered not only as a great Secretary of State in handling the military side of his Department but for having given us a little stimulus to civil aviation.


I am afraid that the persistence, the respectful persistence, with which I have pursued a certain phase of the Air Ministry and its operations has caused a misapprehension in the minds of my fellow Members generally. They seem to be under the impression that I am setting myself up as a technical expert or authority. Technical science is not for me. I am just an old-fashioned wheelwright pattern maker. I always thought, when I approached the subject of the modern expert, that he was comparable very largely to the late Sir William Gilbert's fabulous man who was born old and grew young. It seems to me that most of the modern experts, particularly those of the Cardington school, commenced their technical education by going backwards and that they have not got as far back as the A B C. That is where I have got, a pull on them. I know the rudiments, and they do not. At least, if they do they do not make any use of their knowledge. I have raised this question for a good many years. For a year or two, I raised a question in respect to something which was called a helicopter. That was a remarkable attempt to achieve the impracticable with an impossible contrivance, and I said so. We spent £70,000 on that thing. It was called a helicopter, but it never copt, it only flopped.

The hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Rear-Admiral Sueter), who was good enough to make some observations upon the speech which I made last Monday week, said that I had told a story which was nothing new and was all stale. I know, but it is not the only old story which is true. I would remind him that the story of life is much older than even the Royal Navy, but it is none the less true because it is old. I have never attempted to address this House on a subject, however ignorant I may have been on it, in which I was not convinced that I was telling the truth. The hon. and gallant Member came out with some of his own experiences. He said that he was in charge of the construction of an airship at Barrow. He seemed to be quite proud of it. If I had been in charge of it, I should not have thought it anything to write to mother about. He went on to say: When the 'Mayfly' was wrecked, I showed a distinguished admiral the wreck. He had never seen an airship before, and he remarked, 'The work of a lunatic.' "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th March, 1928; col. 1581, Vol. 214.] I understand from inquiries made subsequently that that distinguished admiral is dead.

Rear-Admiral SUETER

I do not think it is quite fair to take a portion of my speech without reading the rest of it.


I am going to read some more, but I cannot read it all at once. I suggest that the decease of that distinguished admiral was a sore loss to the Admiralty. However, the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford went on to make some discursive and totally irrelevant remarks about this business. He has been extolling—I have no doubt on good grounds—the use of the airship as an instrument of war. It appears to be the only defence he offers for it. But that has nothing to do with the question which is before the House now or which was before us in the last Debate. Will the House remember that this airship scheme is avowedly, absolutely and exclusively, commercial in its purpose. Nobody has ever suggested that the two ships which are now being built—one of them is almost commenced, and the other one is probably nearly half finished—are for other than commercial purposes. They were to be used exclusively for such purposes and when the House endorsed this scheme they did not endorse a scheme for military aviation, or for any military or naval auxiliary or accessory. Therefore, it seems absurd that criticism offered by those who object to the application of craft of this kind to commercial purposes, should be met by the argument that the ships will be of some use in war. If that argument were analysed it would probably be found that they would not be much more use in war than they are likely to be in civil aviation. As a matter of fact, all the airships used by us during the War were either semi-rigid or nonrigid, and not one of them had more than 750,000 cubic feet capacity.

I have been trying to get some parallel which will bring to the mind of non technical Members of this House an idea of the proportions of these ships. Twelve times the length of this Chamber from door to door—that is their length —and three times its height from floor to ceiling is their measured diameter. Could I bring it closer to the conception of the House by saying that the whole mass of the Parliament buildings, including Westminster Hall and every tower and every projection, has a total cubic content of 10,250,000 feet, and these two ships will occupy the space of the whole of these buildings? Not one of the ships built or projected as yet, with the possible exception of the monster that Germany is said to be building now —and it is only 3,500,000 feet—has more than half the capacity of these ships. And the distinguished Admiral said that this "was the work of a lunatic." Let us see what we have done since the War in this connection—and remember that all the talent and all the virtues of the Air Minister have been brought to bear on these subjects. R.33 cost £350,000, and she flew for 800 hours and burst. R.34 cost £350,000 and burst. R.35 cost £75,000 and burst before she was inflated. R.36 cost £350,000, flew for 97 hours, and burst. R.37 cost £350,000 and was never completed. R.38 cost £500,000. She was built at Cardington, and they always charge more at Cardington, and she flew for 70 hours and burst. R.39 cost £90,000 and was never finished. She was scrapped and used as a stress test. Rs.40 cost £275,000, flew for 73 hours and burst. The total for eight ships is £2,340,000, and the total flying time 1,540 hours. Yet some outrageous miscreants continue to say that this "was the work of a lunatic." I am afraid my vocabulary is limited to the point of inadequacy, but perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Hertford, who is an old sailor, would be able to help me in that respect. Let us come a little closer to the details of this question.

I wish to call the attention of the House to the fact that in replies to various questions, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has said, more than once, that the cost of the Cardington ship will be £400,000. I must offer to the right hon. Gentleman and the House a humble apology for having made a misstatement in my last speech on this subject. I said the Cardington ship was to cost £400,000 and that therefore the cost would be £20,000 per pay load ton. That is quite wrong, and I wish to correct it now. The cost is going to be a great deal more. In the statement which the right hon. Gentleman has issued—printed on green paper, obviously to suit the vision of His Majesty's faithful Commons at Estimate time—he gives details of the cost of this particular ship, and I find he has spent, or will spend if the House grants this money, £229,000 on material, £65,000 on shop labour, £35,000 on drawing office labour—or designing labour as he terms it—and £80,000 for overhead charges. That is a total for the airship itself of £409,000. Then there is the power plant chargeable to this particular ship, which amounts to £35,000. In addition, two engines which were made for experimental purposes are going to be utilised and their value is assessed at £16,000, making a total of £460,000 for a ship which has hardly been begun, which has been in hand now for four years, but cannot, by any possibility, take the air this year if it does so next year or ever. Thus £460,000 of the taxpayers' money has gone or will go in this scheme—and somebody has said "it is the work of a lunatic."

There is one phase of this subject which I would impress on the House. The Ministry's experts are beginning to navigate an element which is almost unknown to man, an element which has to be investigated, which has to be dared, which has to be humoured. After all, mechanical science can only move within the ambit of natural laws. I have told the House how big are these ships, and now let us have regard to their construction. They consist of a flimsy framework of metal; inside that are a number of goldbeaters' skin balloonets. Everybody knows, or ought to know, that you cannot get big pieces of goldbeaters' skin. It is made out of part of the intestine of an ox, and about the largest piece we can get would be about 100 inches in area. Hundreds of thousands of these skins have to be stuck on to this fabric, and that is all—that is the thing on which, when it has been filled with hydrogen gas, the ship depends for buoyancy and security, and it has to convey from itself enormous stresses on to the girder work of the ship. Outside the girder work there is a skin of doped linen. Never mind about technique at all. Just let hon. Members think that this mass of flimsiness and all it contains, living and inert, must weigh less than the avoirdupois weight of the volume of air it displaces. What chance can there be of these things lasting? I do not say for a moment that the ship will not cross the Atlantic. I do not say that some fine morning when it does not rain, and there is no wind, they will not get one of these ships out of its shed, but of all the contrivances man has ever thought or dreamt of, surely this is the most fantastic! It is not new either. As the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford has said, this is all old, because these are not ships at all. They are dirigible balloons, and ballooning is 150 years old.

When this business was started, it was started under these conditions. When the right hon. Gentleman was previously in office he had tacitly accepted a scheme known as the Burney scheme. That scheme was to build six of these ships by a private company for £4,600,000, in addition to which that company was to take over the whole of our property at Cardington at a peppercorn rent. When my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition came into office, this scheme was presented for signature, but it was, very properly, turned down. My complaint against him and his advisers then was that they ought to have turned it down entirely and not chipped a corner off it and kept that. Except that the dimensions are smaller, the project today is as preposterous as it was then. See the conditions that Parliament sanctioned. I would call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to this fact, that his criticism of the present scheme was not because it was foolish, but because it was not foolish enough. They were to have £1,200,000 and no more; the thing was all to be finished and the ships in flying order for their trials in three years, four years ago. He has already spent £820,000, or two-thirds of his allowance, on the construction of two ships, neither of which is finished. He is building mooring masts in connection with the same scheme, at £50,000 apiece, and he will want a great many more airsheds than he has, even to accommodate the two ships, for these things cannot always come to a mooring mast. If there is anything wrong with their outer cover they cannot be repaired at a mooring mast, but only in an air shed, and it is a worse job getting them into a shed than it is getting them out of one.

I want the right hon. Gentleman to remember certain natural facts in connection with the air. It is estimated, and competently estimated, that every year there are 16,000,000 thunderstorms in the world, that is, 44,000 daily, chiefly in the Tropics, and if he will read the log of the R.34 and the evidence that was given in the inquiry into the loss of the "Shenandoah," he will realise that electric zones, unforeseen, unforeseeable, generating not in hours nor in days, but in minutes, are accompanied, besides thunder and lightning, by what is known as vertical winds. I do not know how many of the heavier-than-air aviators have been brought down and killed—nobody knows—but that airships are absolutely unmanageable and uncontrollable in vertical winds is a simple fact. You cannot control them. They could not control the "Shenandoah," which was an up-to-date ship, built on the right principles, with the correct streamline, by experts who had been at the game for 25 years in Germany. She got across the Atlantic very much more easily than did our R.34, but here is an extract from the log of the Rs.34: The thunderstorms were awful. First, she stood on her tail, then shot up hundreds of feet, and fell back again almost into the water. The men had to live and sleep and eat and drink with their parachutes on them. When the German ship went across, she took 84 hours, but it took this one 108 hours. She carried almost nothing but her crew, who were specially dressed in light clothing, and the barest rations of food, but what else did she have to carry? This is the trouble with all your long-distance flying, that you have not a base to come down to in order to re-fuel, and there are none in the Atlantic. The difficulty, therefore, is the enormous weight of petrol with which you have to start. The "Shenandoah," which was then the Z.R.3, went across and carried with her 27 tons of petrol. Her engine power was less than half that of these two ships of ours, and her capacity was just about half. She actually used, in 80 hours, 23 tons of her petrol, and when the Rs.34 crossed, she got there with 20 minutes' petrol left. This is the sort of risk that is being run now.

I have nothing to say against this aviation. I have my own opinions about it, and I do not express any cocksure view of it, but I do not think it will ever be a commercial success. I think it will be a rapid and luxurious mode of travel some day for very rich people, but that it will ever carry much weight, I doubt. Still, I do not know. I come from a long line of engineers. I am an engineer myself. and I love my calling and am inclined sometimes to dream quite radiant dreams of what the possibilities of the future may be. I do not know how time will justify what I am saying, but I do not believe you will conquer the air with internal-combustion engines. I believe that sometime, by somebody, in the future, we shall be able to enchain some mighty radio-active force, of which we know little or nothing now, and put it to the use of mankind, and then many things may happen that are perhaps beyond our dreams to-day, but when I come to consider this particular phase of the question I am in doubt. The House, I am sure, will pardon me harping on it, because I am not doing it, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman, for any personal reason or in any spirit antagonistic either to him or to the Government—everyone in this House knows how little I care about party qua party—and I am only raising this question, and persisting in it, because I have a solemn and certain conviction in my mind that it is a waste of public time and of more precious human efforts, and that it may be unnecessarily wasteful of the most precious element of all, namely, human life.

The right hon. Gentleman is, perhaps, inflated with a sense of his responsibility. Let me remind him that he is not the first Samuel in history who has bad a call from above. Let me warn him that he must not misinterpret all the messages he gets. I am afraid that he allows his experts to tell him things they do not know themselves. I never think of a modern expert and of men like the Cardington School experts, without being reminded of the observation made by Mr. Perkin Middlewick, the retired butterman, in Byron's comedy of "Our Boys." When he smelt the empty eggshells on Mrs. Patchem's breakfast table, he remarked, "Ah, shop'uns, 16 for a shilling; I knows 'em." I am inclined, to think that a good many of his experts are only charlatans. I do not think the experts who advised him to go on with a certain helicopter, nor the experts who are telling him now to persist in this scheme, are experts in any scientific or proper acceptation of the term. Higher, much higher, than the roof of the Cardington air shed, much wiser, much truer, than all the brass-hatted charlatanry in the world, towers the immutable and majestic law by which the Creator has designed and established the universe. It is the law whereby He guides and governs us, and it is a law that will abide, in spite of Cardington and of Adastral House, when the sun is cold and the stars are old.


I listened last week to the very excellent and well-informed speech with which the Minister for Air introduced his Estimates, and I think that each year his speech becomes more interesting and gives us a better idea of the excellent work which the Air Force is doing. We all realise that the task of the Minister for Air is more difficult even than those of the other two Fighting Services. The Minister for Air has a new force, with new problems, and he has to tackle them in a way which is totally different from the methods of the other two Fighting Services. However we may criticise these Estimates and the work of the Ministry, we all feel that the esprit de corps of the Air Force is magnificent, and we want to congratulate the Air Minister upon the wonderful progress he has made with the Force and the great efficiency to which he has brought it. Those are things of which every Member of this House must be proud, and they have been done largely while the right hon. Gentleman has presided over this Ministry. We congratulate him, and we hope that his work will be continued for some time, and when the history of the Air Force comes to be written in the future, I feel that the present Minister will be given a great share of credit for the work which has been put into the organisation of the Force.

I hope, however, that the Minister will not feel, from some of the speeches that have been made, that everything is right with the Air Force. Some hon. Members have spoken about economy, and I think that the Minister has been badly served on the financial side of his work. One cannot read the Reports of the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee without feeling that we want a stronger force to look after the financial side of the Air Ministry. If the Minister is going to be let down, it is not on the flying side, we know, but I think it will be on the financial side, by the people who control the very large amount of money that is voted by this House for the Air Ministry. You cannot blame the Commanding Officer of any unit for getting every possible allowance that the Regulations permit. The keener the officer the keener he is to get every possible advantage for his own men to assist in making them more efficient. One does not mind that. It is part of the tradition of each of the Services. A Commanding Officer will do the best for each of his men. But this spirit of extravagance pervades the whole of the Air Force. Possibly it is a remnant of the War. We did things on a very extravagant scale in the War.

The Air Force has never been slow to find out anything that is to its advantage in the way of extra pay and allowances. I think someone must have delved into the other two Services to the utmost extent to discover anything that could be extracted to the advantage of the Air Force, and it has been included in the Regulations. We found on the Estimates Committee that the Air Force found in some deep Regulation that they could get hard-lying money. We turned this up in the Regulation and found that the Air Force were putting in claims for hard-lying money. Some member of the Committee, who was not a Naval man, asked who was doing the lying and who was paid for it? I believe this allowance is now eliminated from the Service. I do not blame all these officers in command of units for getting all they can, but I say that it is the duty of the permanent officials of the Air Ministry to see that officers get only what is proper, and that all the expensive and luxurious ideas are cut down to the greatest possible limit.

The right hon. and gallant Member for Bristol North (Captain Guest) made an excellent and critical speech last week. We expected him to make a speech of that sort, because he is not only a flying man and a practical man, but he has had great experience at the Air Ministry. One of the points referred to in that speech I want to mention now, and that relates to the reserve of pilots. The expansion of the Air Force in time of war will depend wholly upon the rate at which we train and supply pilots to man the machines. On a declaration of war reserve pilots will be wanted at once, and if the Force is to be used properly a sufficient number of reserve pilots must be ready to take their places in the Force. The Minister would be failing in his responsibility if he imperilled the lives of people by not having the Air Force efficient, and it cannot be efficient in the event of war unless we have sufficient reserve pilots to fill the vacancies caused by the casualties which will occur almost at once. In the Debate last week it was said that the next war may possibly be decided before either the Army or the Navy can get into touch with the enemy. If that be the case it will be the Air Force that will have first to come into contact with the enemy.

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman also referred to civil aviation. You cannot substitute civil aviation for military aviation; one must be complementary to the other. Civil aviation ought to be extended in this country at a far more rapid rate than that at which it is being extended now. Civil aviation will help military aviation in great measure. There is a very good simile in the Mercantile Marine Service. In the War the Mercantile Marine Service was of the greatest assistance to the Navy. So civil aviation, if used in the proper way, may be of the greatest assistance to the Air Force in providing pilots. The system which is in operation now in the Mercantile Marine might be carried on in a modified way in the Air Force. The pilots of civil aviation should have special training with the Air Force, so that they will know not only civil work but will get the benefit of the military training of the Air Force. They would then be in a position similar to that of the Royal Naval Reserve, who come up each year for training with the Navy. If these civil pilots were subsidised there would be a possibility of a very large number of thoroughly efficient reserve pilots being obtained at a cheaper rate, and in the event of war they could take their places in the Air Force.

I want to say a few words about light aeroplane clubs. We are very grateful to ethe Minister for his sympathetic and practical help of these clubs. I see in the Estimates that the right hon. Gentleman is providing an improved subsidy this year. He has extended the number of clubs to 13, and he promises them a maximum subsidy of £2,000 a year per club. But I see that he has allowed for only £16,000 in the Estimates; instead of the £26,000 maximum which could be obtained he has estimated that only £16,000 will be required. I hope that this part of his Estimates will prove to be wholly wrong and that the whole of the money will be claimed by the clubs. I regard this economy as wrongly applied economy, and it is probably the only instance in the Estimates. In this new civil force of the light aeroplane clubs the Minister is getting a splendid lot of men for the Air Force at a very small cost. We must remember that the short service commissioned officer of the Air Force costs £2,000 a year. Against that the civil pilot, trained to get his licensed certificate "A,'' obtains a grant of only £50. I realise that he is not a militarily trained man, but he has learnt the elements of flying and control, which can be developed further when he is trained by the Air Force subsequently.

I would liken the work that is being done by these patriotic and sporting flying men of the light aeroplane clubs to the position of the Volunteers in preTerritorial days. Many of these Volunteers for years patriotically paid for their arms, equipment and clothing, and prepared themselves to fight for their country in the event of their being required. In these light aeroplane clubs the men are paying for their own flying and their own club, and the only subsidy they get is £50 a year upon gaining their licences. I hope that the Minister will continue to look favourably on this work. It is really good work. It provides pilots who have a sense of the air, and it provides a great number of these at a very small cost. Beyond that, it does a great deal of good locally by accustoming the people to the use of the aeroplane. The right hon. Gentleman's experience at the University shows him that many of the younger and sporting members are quite keen on flying and on gaining their pilots' certificates.

I would mention as an instance the Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club. That club, of which I have the honour to be President, is only nine months old. Yet it has produced already 18 certificated pilots, and 11 of those 18 had never used or handled a machine nine months ago. If this sort of thing is developed a great asset to the Air Force will be gained by such training of pilots in light aeroplanes. This Bristol Club has now four aeroplanes of its own, besides a private aeroplane owned by one of the members. It has 154 members, and during the nine months has flown 428 hours, which is an extraordinary total within so short a period.


That is £2 an hour.


Very cheap too, and the members pay for it themselves. The Government are not paying for this. I want the Minister to consider giving every support to these clubs, which are going to be of the greatest assistance to him. He should encourage them by letting the Air Force give them assistance and displays and instructions. One other point that I want to touch on relates to the Cadet College at Cranwell. I see by the Estimates that the new building for the Cadet College is to cost £260,000. The Minister tells us very glibly that hon. Members will have an opportunity of talking about this in years to come, and that at the present time he is asking for only £10,000 towards the total of £260,000. If the Air Ministry estimates anything at £260,000, we can safely double it and call it £500,000. One remembers that the Air Ministry built small houses with two bedrooms and a small sitting room at a cost of £561, exclusive of all external work. It is possible from that figure to see what the Air Ministry can charge in comparison with the Minister of Health in building small houses. Before the right hon. Gentleman asks for £10,000 and then gradually proceeds to build a college, we should know what is the whole extent of the scheme. It will be too late next year, when this £10,000 has been spent, and probably another £50,000, to discuss whether or not we shall have this college. The Minister might have given more details to us, and not merely have said in a footnote that the £10,000 is put there as a start and that we can discuss the scheme in years to come.

I tremble to think what the cost of these cadets will be after we have a college of this sort. Members of the Estimate Committee who dealt with all the expenditure at Cranwell know that the cadet mess is run more like a ducal establishment than an officers' mess or a cadets' mess even. The Minister will remember that the 116 cadets this year cost £580 each, not including flying costs.



8.0 p.m.


If the hon. Member thinks it is cheap, I would ask him to compare it with Woolwich and Sandhurst or with a commercial university for engineering in this country. A figure of £330 was given in 1923 by the Minister as the future estimated cost of each cadet. The whole administrative cost of the college, the whole of the expenditure on these cadets is wrong in many ways, and gives the cadets a totally wrong idea of the standard of living. No officers' mess would ever countenance the expenditure that has been incurred on these cadets, and the extravagance of the Air Force generally in this direction. I hope the Minister will give his attention to the extravagance in which these cadets are being brought up; it is wholly unnecessary and not in keeping with the life they will have to lead in years to come. I trust that the Minister will realise that these criticisms we are making are made in a friendly way; and by a humble backbencher; I feel that we are all of the opinion that the Minister is handling the Air Force and its administration in a very capable manner. The economy we want in the Air Force is the economy which means full value for the money that we vote in this House. The work of the aeroplane, both on the civil and military side, is in the future to be of great national value to this country. It is going to assist in solving the great Empire problem, probably more than anything else, by eliminating great distances, just in the same way that the different parts of the Empire were brought nearer when steamships took the place of sailing ships.

Rear-Admiral SUETER

Every Member will agree that there is no more sincere colleague of ours than the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Rose), but he criticises the airships very harshly, and he has read out a whole chapter of accidents. He has informed the House that he is a trained engineer, and I have no doubt that he is a very skilled engineer, but may I ask him to remember the history of the submarine? From the first dive which I made in one of the Holland submarines until now, there have been a great many disasters. It would be a sorry tale that one had to tell if one tabulated them all, but the submarines of the Germans nearly brought this great nation to her knees in the Great War by sinking her food ships. The study of airships shows that they can be of great value. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen took a sentence of mine, from a speech which I made in the Debate on the Air Estimates, and said that when I showed a distinguished admiral the wreck of the Mayfly at Barrow, the admiral said, "The work of a lunatic," and that the admiral had never seen an airship before. The hon. Member never quoted the rest of the speech in which I said that the work of the lunatics in Germany was of great value. Their airships kept the whole of the North Sea under observation during the War period, and when we laid a minefield, the German Zeppelins located it, with the result that it was swept up. Whenever we made a sweep with our battleships and cruisers in the North Sea, the Zeppelins reported to the Germans where our Fleet was. The morning after the Battle of Jutland, two Zeppelins told Admiral Scheer the position of the Grand Fleet, with the result that he knew where our ships were, and we were blind and did not know where their ships were. That was all the work of lunatics.

I will take the question away from the controversial side, and quote one or two opinions of the work of these airships. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen talks of commercial airships, but they can at any moment be turned into weapons of war for scouting purposes, and we must consider airships from the point of view of their value in war-time as well as in peace-time. I will quote a passage from Colonel Repington's book about airships. He said: I asked about the dirigibles. David Beatty says that the enemy has still the monopoly of the best air scouting in good weather, when one Zeppelin can do as much as five or six cruisers. When the Grand Fleet came here from Scapa it was accompanied by some of the new small dirigibles. But David Beatty could not wireless to them as wireless masts were down during the move. They pitched and tossed a good deal but David Beatty hopes they may he of use some day. The large dirigibles have not yet come along and Beatty thinks that they have been messed about and people do not appreciate their importance even now! We did not go on building airships after the disaster to the Mayfly, and the Grand Fleet were denied proper aerial scouts during the War. I do not think Lord Beatty would have spoken like this unless he had seen in what a great disadvantage he was placed by having no aerial reconnaissance when the Germans in fine weather kept the whole North Sea under close observation with their naval Zeppelins. I will give the hon. Member the opinion of Lord Jellicoe. I take it that his opinion will be of some value when we are considering airships. He said: The German Zeppelins as their number increased were of great assistance to the enemy for scouting, each one being in favourable weather equal to at least two light cruisers for such a purpose. Then the hon. Member for North Aberdeen tells us that they are of no great value. I prefer rather to take the opinion of Lord Jellicoe and Lord Beatty than the opinions of the hon. Member. Another officer, interviewed by Colonel Repington, said this in 1916: He did not think it could quite be said that the Zeppelins had no military effect, for they caused work to stop, held up the railway for 30 hours sometimes, and made all the workmen run home to look after their families. The same officer went on to say that as the result of having no Zeppelins: Our Navy was now blind, and the Germans had an enormous advantage over us. The Zeppelins could see up to 70 miles on a clear day, and whenever any of our ships put out, their numbers, type and course were immediately reported to Germany. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen might like references. The first comes from Colonel Repington's book, "The First World War," Volume 2, pages 13 and 14. That, from Lord Jellicoe is from his book, "The Grand Fleet," page 32. The hon. Member said that you could not repair the outer cover of an airship at a mooring mast. I had the Mayfly anchored at a mooring mast at Barrow-in-Furness for several days, and we made many repairs to the outer cover. He also talks about the impossibility of dealing with large numbers of gold-beater's skins. The Germans had thousands of goldbeater's skins in their gas bags, and used them successfully.


I did not say it was impossible; I said it was a matter of considerable difficulty—not insuperable difficulty, possibly.

Rear-Admiral SUETER

I beg the hon. Member's pardon if I misunderstood him. I thought he said that it was impossible to handle large numbers. It may be difficult, but it is a matter than can easily be overcome; and the young women who used to be employed in building gas bags for our many airships, handled the gold-beater's skins with great skill, and they were successful in the Great War. I strongly resent the statement of the hon. Member that the experts are charlatans. These skilled aeronautical engineers are called upon to work hard; they are building up a great structure, and doing it for the service of the State. They have been ordered to do it, and it is very unfair that these experts, who are putting all their brains into the work, and all their time, should be called charlatans. I am certain that when the hon. Member reads his speech to-morrow in the OFFICIAL REPORT, he will retract that statement, and write to the experts and say that he regrets having made use of that expression.

Leaving airships, I ask the under-Secretary, as I asked last Monday, whether he will go into the question of the Atlantic flights in detail, and consult the Aero Club, and see if we cannot get greater control over those people who want to fly the Atlantic. There has been a disaster only lately, and I do ask again that the Air Minister and the Aero Club should insist, when people want to fly the Atlantic, that they have a proper medical certificate, that they understand something about compasses and navigation, that the machine be overhauled, that they have fabric floating bags put into the chassis, and that they carry wireless, if Possible. These points ought to be gone into. I feel very strongly about it; people ought not to be allowed to fly unless their machines are properly equipped. In the same way that we control ships at sea—we do not send them to sea unless they are properly equipped for navigation—we ought to have air machines and their equipment overhauled before people are allowed to fly.


An hon. Member from the Opposition Benches has asked the following question; Why is there this continued increase in the one weapon, in the whole range of modern weapons, which is only useful for offensive purposes? Let me take the implication of the first part of the question, that the aeroplane is only useful for offensive purposes. It has been shown conclusively during manœuvres in various countries, including America, that the best way of frustrating the attack of enemy warships is by means of aeroplane or seaplane bombers. Hon. Gentlemen have only to take their minds back to the War to remember the devastating effect of concentrated aeroplane machine-gun fire upon advancing cavalry or infantry, and, as to hostile aeroplanes, I know from practical experience that the best way of meeting them was by means of other aeroplanes. Consequently, I do not quite understand the reasoning of the hon. Gentleman in telling us in so many words that the aeroplane is useful only for offensive purposes. As to the first part of the question, which was, in effect, "Why is there this continual increase in the size of the Air Force?" I presume the increase he was referring to is the increase of four squadrons. I would like to answer that question by asking yet another, "Why has not the Air Force been increased by at least 40 squadrons instead of four?" In case any hon. Members opposite are apprehensive lest I have cast overboard pledges of economy, let me hasten to explain what I mean.

It will be remembered that at the beginning of the War the airship and the aeroplane and, for that matter, the seaplane, were in their infancy. Experts assure me that if it had not been for the impetus of the War it would have taken at least half a century for the present development of the aeroplane to have come about. At the commencement of hostilities aeroplanes, and air weapons generally, were positively prehistoric by comparison with the efficiency of modern ones. Further, it will be remembered that at the beginning of the War what demoralised the civil population more than anything else both in this country and in other countries were air raids. Remembering the havoc that was created by the spasmodic and comparatively small air raids of the past, it is not pleasant to contemplate what might be the result of really formidable and well organised air raids in the future, carried out with modern machines and with the advantage of all the experience of the last War. The days are past when England can regard herself as secure simply because she happens to be an island and has a fleet. We are now in a rather unfortunate geographical position. We are in a different position from any other European country; in fact, we are the only European country which has its capital, its nerve centre, so near to its borders, in our case the coast. London, which is the key of the whole of Great Britain, could, as I think most people will agree, be disorganised by a hostile fleet of bombers in less than 15 minutes. The result of that to the country as a whole must be apparent to every hon. Member.

Let us imagine such an unfortunate contingency, even if it be in the dim future. What would have been the use of our having in the years 1928–29 expended the immense sum of £98,000,000 upon the Army and Navy, and only having increased the defensive capacity of the Air Force by a matter of four squadrons? I should have thought it would have been to our advantage, from the point of view not only of national economy but of national security, if we learned something from the lessons of the War. Is it likely that any country declaring war in the future will waste time in first bringing up its slower engines of war, that is the Army and Navy, as compared with the mobility of its Air Force? That would be a very doubtful proceeding, because it is recognised by many experts that at the beginning of a war whoever gains the mastery of the air will win that war. Any nation which gained control of the air would then be in a position to disorganise completely the key centres and the strategic positions of its opponents. The only reason why that did not happen at the beginning of the last War was that the aeroplane and the airship were in their infancy, and the participants in that War had only a handful of machines between them. I defy any champion of the old school, either in this House or outside, to show cause why that which I have suggested to the House in all deference should not be the natural course of events in future wars. I maintain that with a Navy merely sufficient to protect our trade routes and to undertake the coastal defence of this country, with an Army sufficient for certain garrison work abroad and for the inland defence of the coasts of Great Britain, and with an Air Force that was not only the largest but also the most efficient Air Force in the world, we should find ourselves in a far stronger position. There would not only be a great saving on the expenditure on the Services as a whole, but we should also impress upon other countries the necessity for a lasting peace.


Most of the hon. Members who have taken part in this Debate have used the Amendment as a means of discussing various matters which are probably important but are, in a sense, minor affairs, by contrast with the main issue. The hon. and gallant Member for Warrington (Captain Reid) expressed very logically his belief that if we are to have an Air Force at all we ought to have the largest or, I think he said, the most powerful and most efficient Air Force in the world. Although that is a view with which I, personally, violently disagree, it is, from another point of view, a logical proposition. It is logical to argue that we should have an Air Force that can easily vanquish any possible opponents in the rest of the world, and it is equally logical to argue that we should save our money and have no Air Force at all, but I really do not see that there is any logical or sensible line which can be taken between those two points of view. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Air has come in for a great deal of congratulation during this Debate, but it seems to me that this is the most criminal proposition which has been put before the House since I have been a Member of it, this annual proposal deliberately to expose this country to all the horrors and dangers of attack by air. That is what is really meant when we vote in the House in favour of increasing the Air Force in the steady manner which the present Government are doing.

The last speaker argued that it was absurd to say that aircraft were only useful for the purposes of offence. The same hon. Member went on to say that the best way to stop a naval attack was by means of bombs dropped from aeroplanes. That is not the point. The case against the air arm is that a very strong and well organised Air Force, is that if any of us are injured by hostile air raids our aeroplanes will go and treat our enemies in the same way. This means that for every British baby that is killed by an enemy bomb we shall send our air fleet to kill 12 of the enemy's babies; and so we are developing war into an exchange of bombing in order to kill innocent men, women and children and so prove which empire is the most glorious. For that reason, I suggest that the House should consider very seriously before allowing itself to be persuaded by what I think is quite fairly called an aggressive Government into this policy of strengthening the air arm.

There only can be two arguments brought up in favour of this policy. The first is that a strong air force may be of great assistance in time of war; and the second is that in times of peace it saves us many lives and a great deal of trouble and expense in policing the distant parts of the Empire. The Air Force may be useful to keep in order tribes who are doing things to which we object, and who are not in possession of an air arm themselves. It seems to me a completely barbarous argument that we should use the air arm for the purpose of keeping order in countries thousands of miles away. What business is it of ours to keep order in those countries? When we consider our air policy, we should also consider its implications. It is no, uncommon thing for us to hear that some tribe in a far off part of the earth has refused to pay taxes due to the great British Empire. Instead of sending a punitive expedition of horse, foot and guns to teach this tribe to obey and to pay our taxes, we now send bombing aeroplanes, and after the people have left their houses we bomb their town and bring them round to what is called sweet reasonableness.

I am not going to enter into the question as to whether we have any right to impose our will upon these people, but, if we agree that the old custom of sending an expedition of horse, foot and guns was a necessary thing to do, then I say that substituting in its place bombing aeroplanes is quite a different proposition, and a very retrograde step. I had one experience during the War of an air raid. It was not a very bad affair, but experts now tell us that the air raids in the last War do not give us any idea of what air raids would be like in the next war. It is a most arbitrary and quite unfair and barbarous method to send bombing aeroplanes in order to get our wishes carried out. I say that we are deliberately condoning the use of an arm which I think every expert will agree will, if it is allowed to reach its ultimate development, completely wipe out civilisation as we know it to-day. If the air arm is developed to its fullest extent, a future war can only mean the most ghastly and barbarous holocaust that the imagination can possibly conceive. All these things should be carefully considered by the Government before the House decides to add a single extra man or to spend more money on the Air Force. We ought not to countenance the building up of the air arm in order to bomb civilians in undefended towns.

It is a fact that we squealed when the Germans tried this policy upon our country, but surely we are not going to give any other country reason to complain that we wish to adopt a policy of that kind. We know that if hostilities broke out between two countries the very first thing the war staff would do would be to send off the air force across the seas to bomb the enemy, and they would bring back in return a very nice repayment for the money we are told by the Air Force protagonists we pay as insurance to secure peace and prosperity for our country. I suggest that the Air Force can only be used for two purposes. Firstly, to promote Imperialism cheaply in times of peace; and, secondly, for bombing defenceless towns and slaughtering innocent people in times of war. I know the air arm can be used for observation purposes. It can also be used to do cheap and very unsatisfactory police work in time of peace. The Government have made no effort to do away with air armament. As a matter of fact, they are proposing to make it stronger. They are stumbling on with the same blind policy adopted before the War and they have learned nothing whatever by the lessons of the War. The Government go on making all these preparations for war, and we shall find if they get into war that they will be just as ludicrous and helpless as those who struggled during the last War to save humanity.


It seems to me that no Member of this House who possesses in the smallest degree either an historical sense or a sense of the latent possibilities of future development, can with levity criticise the Estimates of this great Department over which my right hon. Friend presides. To regard the matter historically, we must carry our minds back to the development of the locomotive, and recollect the lugubrious prophecies which were then made in regard to the development of that new form of transport. That should make us very humble indeed before we prophesy as to the future of this great new means of communication. If we cast our minds forward, there is a similarly humbling prospect. It is quite impossible to calculate what may be the ultimate effect of this great development in cheapening life, in restoring the financial dislocation from which the world is suffering because of the War. Reflections of that kind, reflections on the bravery of our men, on the scientific possibilities of this new development, on its possible effects on our trade and so forth, make me very reluctant to utter a single word of criticism, but I want to say one or two words, scarcely of criticism, but rather of an interrogatory kind, with regard to one portion of the speech of my right hon. Friend last week. I want to ask him a few questions, in the light of some knowledge of the route and of the East, with regard to the civil route to India, as to which he was so optimistic in making his speech a few days ago. The prospect that he held out to us was this rather alluring one: I believe we shall have set on foot an air route which in the course of time will be so attractive to the business man and the traveller who wishes to save time, that we shall receive a substantial and increasing revenue from it in the matter of charges on mails and passenger traffic."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th March, 1928; col. 1539, Vol. 214.] I hope strongly and unqualifiedly that that prophecy will come true, but I should be very glad indeed if my right hon. Friend would tell us a little more about the difficulties that he is really up against, and, if I may be permitted to say so, if he would confront some of those difficulties with a sense of reality. I am rather inclined to think that that kind of prophecy ultimately does the cause of aerial development more harm than good. With regard to the means of locomotion itself, and the distance that has to be covered, my right hon. Friend knows far more than I do. He made that journey to India in a matter of, I think, 12 days, at the end of 1926 and the beginning of 1927. It has always seemed to me, particularly on the part of Lady Maud Hoare, to have been an act of almost incomparable heroism to have taken that journey at all. When I crossed to Paris, the last time I was in an aeroplane—last Easter, I think it was—we had a fairly bumpy day, and I can assure my right hon. Friend that the experiences of every person in that big aeroplane, on a not unusually windy or troublesome day, were lamentable. I should like to know something more about that wireless operator who left the aeroplane, I believe, at Malta, on the occasion of that wonderful journey.

Have the comforts that can be provided in these machines, the stability, or any of the amenities that can yet be provided, really reached a pitch which could remotely justify a prophecy of this kind in the case of a journey of seven days to Delhi, or nine days to Calcutta, as mentioned by my right hon. Friend last week? Have the amenities of these machines reached anything like the proportions which would justify this sort of optimism in regard to that tremendous journey? I am speaking with very little technical knowledge. I suppose I have been in the air a considerable number of times, and it is bearable in the streaming wind that is going past you at anything from 120 to 200 miles an hour, but what are the conditions inside these narrow spaces where 10 or 12 people must sit, and where there certainly can be no opportunity of sleeping? What are the conditions which would really hold out the sort of hope that my right hon. Friend held out last week?

It is, however, in reference to India and the Indian market, and what I cannot help thinking must be the essential economic basis of this business, if it is ultimately to be economically successful, that I want to say a few words. I can quite understand and appreciate the fact that civil aerial development must go on, if possible, not pari passu, but to some extent collaterally, with the military development of the aeroplane. I can appreciate all the work that my right hon. Friend is doing, and I hope that he will go ahead; and I can appreciate also that he is more or less driven eastwards in the development of these long flights. We know something about the difficulties of the Atlantic crossing from this side, and, if there are to be these developments, it will be necessary, I imagine, to go eastward. We have always to bear in mind that it is with about the poorest part of the habitable globe that we are trying to set up these communications by this very expensive form of transport. I was very interested to see that the great company which was responsible for the Cairo-Basra flight has brought down the costs very greatly, but are those costs, even now, likely—I ask in a spirit of inquiry—within any reasonable time, to become compatible with the resources of the pockets of the people in those centres in India to which these machines are being sent?

I sometimes wonder whether my right hon. Friend has reflected on the very small number of people in India who would ever be expected to patronise this expensive form of communication. Calcutta has a white population of, perhaps, between 15,000 and 20,000; there may be 8,000 or 10,000 white people in Bombay. I would draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the very interesting speech which was made in Bombay by his own air officer in India, the officer incharge of civil aviation. He remarked that so far there is no perceptible sign of a development of the air sense in the great mass of the Indian population; there is no desire whatever, so far as one can see, to interest themselves in or embark on this particular form of communication. Locally, between Calcutta and Rangoon particularly, there does seem to be a prospect of creating an economic line, and the experiment of a line between Bombay and Karachi, two cities which would naturally link up by air, was made in 1919 or 1920, with, I believe, very fair results. I do not want to be critical or to condemn these experiments at all, but I do think that, in these days when drastic economies in the public finance of the country have become so necessary, it is up to every Department to examine these projects and present them in a spirit of very cold logic to the people of this country.

There are one or two other points that occur to me in connection with this Indian flight. I cannot understand how the difficulty of the monsoon, lasting, as it does, for three or four months in the year, is to be overcome for the purpose of regular flying communication, and when it comes to a further extension eastward, and going south-east to the Dutch East Indies, and so on, it seems to me that the difficulties which will confront a regular service will be even greater still. I only throw out these hints with the idea of getting at absolute reality in regard to this tremendous experiment. I am as hopeful as anyone can be that it will succeed, but I am a little alarmed when I see that the sum of something like £90,000 or £100,000 which was previously spent annually as a subsidy is now to be increased, and we are not told definitely what the figure is to be. Finally, I should like to say a word of congratulation to the right hon. Gentleman on what he has done for the development of this aerial idea. I say it with absolute sincerity, but I ask him whether he can elucidate some of these difficulties that occur to some of us who know the East and know the conditions in our great Eastern Empire.


Last week you, Sir, were good enough to allow me to say a few words on the Motion that you do leave the Chair. Consequently, I have no intention of inflicting a long speech upon the House to-night. After yesterday's Debate, I assure the House that these are my own notes. They are not in any way affidavits. I should like to say a word to-day with regard to airships. When I was speaking last time, I followed two Secretaries of State for Air. To-night, I have followed two enthusiasts on airships, one for and one against, and I have enjoyed the pillow fight very much indeed. I have such respect for my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hertford (Rear-Admiral Sueter) that I cannot help drawing attention to one or two remarks which he made. We have had a very bad week in aviation, one of the worst weeks I ever remember, but I hope because of that we are not going to lay down absurd rules at to what people may and may not do. We all have a right to risk our lives as we like, and I think it would be a very grave and backward step if we surrounded people with difficulties and stopped their initiative. It may not be a very popular thing to say, but it is rather like stopping Drake going round the world until you had charted the seas. That sort of thing did not make this country famous, as it always will be for initiative. Might we have a word from the Secretary of State as to what he expects to do with regard to aeroplanes and attempts on the world's record? We have had a very serious setback there. To me, it seems quite extraordinary that with all the practiceflying and all the hundreds of miles flown by these very high speed and dangerous machines that is the first fatal accident. I hope we shall pursue it to the end and regain the speed record of the world. After all, what is aviation but an increased speed in a method of locomotion? Its whole merit depends on speed. There is nothing more important for the prestige of the industry, the prestige of the country, and the prestige of our engineers than that we should hold the record of the world for speed.

May I pass to a somewhat duller subject, the reserve squadrons which my right hon. Friend has started. These squadrons are composed mainly of civilians, and, if you are really going to increase them and attract people to them, you must make their life a little more attractive and a little more comfortable. Your squadron in the North of London has no mess and practically no accommodation whatever, and you seem to me to have given them a machine which is probably the most unsuitable that could possibly be thought of. It was a war machine. It was known even among the pilots as the "Charging rhinoceros." People hated it then. The right hon. Gentleman told us last year that we were not going to have any more war machines in service squadrons. Is it right to put old and rather dangerous machines into the hands of more or less amateurs? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Bristol (Captain Guest) told us some years ago that these reserve squadrons showed very great economy. They showed £140,000 economy in equipment and £40,000 a year. There is a very great need for spreading them up and down the country. At present, we have only two. I hope soon that we shall see more up and down the country, not from a military point of view, but because we want people to get up in the air. On that point, would the right hon. Gentleman remember that in a squadron of that sort there are many men who go there because they like machinery and like the air. Will he get them in the air? Many of them are always on the ground and never get a chance of going up in the air—only officers and pilots go up—and yet these men joined the squadron really for love of the air. I hope hon. Members opposite who make pacifist speeches will not think the expenditure of money is all for military purposes. Not at all. You may as well say because you teach your boy to sail a dinghy you are asking him to be a fighter, or a pirate. Just as you want a boy to go to sea for love of the sea, so you want to get English young men into the air for love of the air. You do not want them to kill anyone or to bomb anyone at all. Future communication in this world lies in the air, and we should inculcate love of the air in the mind of the boys of the country just as we inculcate love of the sea.


If the picture drawn by the hon. and gallant Gentleman was a correct one little need be said about it. I do not think anyone on this side of the House has at any time objected to science having its fling or to shortening the distance between countries by greater facilities of travel and greater speed. What they have complained of is that, whenever we have these great projects, when we are approaching success the first thoughts of many people seem to be how they can be used for military purposes. It is very plain when we listen to the speeches that have been made to-night. Although reference is made to civil aviation there is a tone running through all these speeches as to how speedily these machines can be turned into machines for the purpose of bombing, or other methods of warfare.


I hope the hon. Member does not associate me with that. I have always said the divergence between the civil machine and the military machine was becoming greater and greater every year.

9.0 p.m.


I do not deny it, but I think we have heard statements made from that bench more than once as to the small amount of time it would take to convert those civil machines into machines of war and destruction. I want to repeat that there is no objection to the use of the air for travelling purposes; it is to the use of it for the purpose of destruction or in a military direction. I realise that this carries me further than I should be permitted to go to-night, but we must alter our policy in other directions if we are to prevent these machines being used for these purposes. I am sorry the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher) has left the House, because while he appeared to set out to praise the Minister, before he had completed his statement his remarks had turned into other than praise. He desired to put us in our place on these benches. He asked us not to object to the progress of this great scientific achievement of riding through the air. He reminded us of the objections to the locomotive, and later told us that it was dangerous and difficult to perform the things of which the Minister had spoken. He pointed out to him the difficulties of reaching India and of travelling from India further East. His speech was quite equal to anything that had been said by my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Rose).

I want to pass from that to much more detailed questions in the hope of securing an answer from the Minister. One hon. Member spoke of the extravagance of the Department. I think it was the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool (Colonel Woodcock). He told us of the extravagance at Cranwell College; of the cost per head of the cadets. He held out to us a prospect that if this was to continue we should be training a number of officers for the Air Force in this country who would be among the most extravagant people within its borders. I hope the Minister will deal with that, and that while dealing with that he will explain how it is that such an enormous amount is spent at that particular college in the training of aviation officers. May I ask how it is—and this was put in the discussion of last week—that he is spending so much at Singapore? What is the reason for that estimate of £496,000—that is the original estimate—of which I think something like £125,000 has to be spent this year? Why are we put to such an expense in that particular part of the Empire? Can we have some explanation as to why we are spending so much at Malta at this time? I find an item of something like £210,000 for the provision of various quarters and hangars at that particular place. How is it we are spending such an enormous sum at Malta, while in other parts of the East we are also spending many tens of thousands of pounds? I think it is time the people of this country were, informed as to how their money is being spent by the Minister.

Money is not only being spent abroad. At home, we find an item of £300,000 being spent at Gosport, another estimate of £360,000 at Abingdon, one of £233,000 at Bicester, and one of £27,000 at Boscombe Down. Why are we spending these sums? Is this in keeping with the extravagance which was referred to by the hon. and gallant Member for Everton. that the Air Ministry can think of nothing but terms of tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds? May we have some explanation of the items on page 25, that is, estimates regarding chemical warfare? Has there been what is termed by some people an improvement with regard to this chemical warfare? Does it mean that we have found some better method of disposing of people—we had better put it in its brutal form—some quicker method, something which will destroy greater numbers? Is that the position at which we have arrived in our research with regard to chemical warfare? There is an item at Farnborough with regard to machinery. At the same time that we are expending considerable sums of money in other parts of the country, we are spending many thousands of pounds at Farnborough. It is a place that is well established and well equipped with machinery, and yet. we find in this Estimate a considerable amount demanded for the installation of new machinery in that particular place. I put these as a few of the items with which I would like the right hon. Gentleman to deal. Meanwhile, I would suggest to him that with regard to civil aviation we might develop it as much as possible because that is making a real use of the invention. When aviation is made use of for the purpose of warfare, when it is used in order to bomb people, innocent women and children, I think it is an occupation of which none of us can feel proud, although men have to make great sacrifices in going up to perform that task.


There is one point I should like to raise, and it is in connection with a matter raised by the right hon. and gallant Member for North Bristol (Captain Guest), about two years ago. It is in reference to the insurance of the lives of flying men. As. hon. Members knows, the insurance premium of an ordinary healthy life of a man of 18, 21 or 22 would be somewhere about £8 to £10 for a policy of £500. But if you must take into account the question of the flying risk, the premium becomes so high that it is almost impossible for these young men to insure. What I think the whole House would agree to would be that, if these pilots wished to insure for a certain amount, say £1,000, they should be allowed to be insured at the rate of an ordinary healthy life, and that during their flying time the Government or the Ministry should find the difference in the premiums. When you get a young man insured at 30 years of age he is still flying. He may then have a mother dependent upon him, or a sister, or a wife. The amount of pension which would be payable would be exceedingly small, and there would be no ready money when anything happened to him. By the time his flying life is ended, say at 38 or 40, it is quite impossible for him to insure. We all are anxious in every part of the House to encourage thrift and to encourage insurance. I hope that the Minister will see his way to do something towards this end. I know that something has been done and that some arrangements have been made with the insurance companies, whereby the premiums are greatly reduced, but they are far too high to encourage these young men to insure. I am certain that the feeling of the House would be that we should encourage them to insure and that the difference in the amount of premium to be paid between the ordinary healthy life premium and the premium to be paid in respect of the extraordinary risks that these men have to take in the interests of the nation should be found by the nation.

The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Sir Samuel Hoare)

The House will now wish me to deal with the many questions that have been raised to-day and in the Debate of last week. Let me, at the outset, thank hon. Members for the manner in which they have approached this discussion. From my point of view, it has been a very valuable discussion. I have received many suggestions in the Debate, and I can assure those hon. Members who made the suggestions that I will give them very careful attention. I am not so self-satisfied as to think that my Department, and everything connected with it, is perfect. It is a new Department, it is dealing with many new and difficult problems, and all of us are only too glad to have suggestions and, indeed, criticisms, where criticisms are due.

While a number of individual questions have been raised in the Debate, two subjects, so it seems to me, have been brought into special prominence, first, the question of civil aviation, and, secondly, the question of airships. admit that when I introduced the Estimates I thought that the course of the Debate would probably run on those lines. I told the House that this year certain developments were taking place in connection with airships and civil aviation that would be of special interest to hon. Members. At the beginning of my answers to the questions raised in the Debate, I will take, first of all, the question of civil aviation, and say at once how grateful I am to my predecossor in office, the right hon. and gallant Member for North Bristol (Captain Guest), for having raised the question and for having dealt with a difficult subject in the sympathetic way in which he treated it. The trouble with civil aviation is the trouble in regard to many other things at the present time, and that is the trouble of money. I wish that I had more money for civil aviation purposes. I have, however, taken careful note of the fact that, I think, every hon. Member who has dealt with the question during the course of the Debate, in whatever part of the House he sits, has declared that the civil aviation Vote ought to be higher than it is at present, and I shall be able to call the attention of my colleagues to a unanimity which is rather rare in the deliberations of this House.

The right hon. Member for North Bristol has made various suggestions, to which I will give very careful attention. Whilst I do not in the least resent any of the criticisms made against our civil aviation policy, I cannot help thinking that he has painted the picture a little bit too black. From the point of view of the length of our civil air routes we may compare unfavourably with certain foreign countries, but from the point of view of reliability and from the point of view of economy of administration I believe that we are, quite definitely, ahead of civil aviation in any other part of the world. Our routes may not extend as widely as the routes of certain other countries, but, at the same time, I do believe that if you analyse the figures you will find that year by year we are making better progress than foreign countries in making civil aviation self-supporting and in bringing nearer the time when it is no longer dependent upon Government subsidies.

I quoted the other day an example or two to illustrate the truth of what I am saying. I quoted the fact that the cost per ton mile has, during the last few years, fallen from 4s. 2d. to 1s. 10d. Take another illustration, the reliability of the British services. We can claim that the reliability of the British services now reaches the high point of 96 per cent., as compared with 75 per cent. four years ago, while if you look to the latest civil air service which has been started, namely, the service between Cairo and Basra, you find that that route has been ruuning with a reliability of no less than 100 per cent. If you take the test of the freight and passengers that the machines are carrying, we can claim that although our services in point of distance are smaller than the service of other countries, we are still carrying three fourths of the passengers between London and Paris, and that year by year the freight, the mails and the passengers carried by British services are going steadily up. I quote these illustrations not to suggest for a moment that we are complacent or that we think that no further progress is needed, but to show the House that we have made a definite advance in the problem which we set ourselves three or four years ago of making civil aviation stand by itself, without the need of Government subsidies.

If hon. Members who are interested in this question will analyse the figures of foreign countries, I think they will find that, whilst we are year by year getting our service on an economic basis, most of the foreign countries which are operating civil air routes are very little further advanced from the point of view of operating upon an economic basis than they were three, four or five years ago, when first they started. I would not like the House to think that we are satisfied with the present situation and that we do not want to see definite progress made in extending our civil air routes. It is on that account that in this year's Estimates I have included a sum with which I hope to make a beginning with a route between London and India. The sum in this year's Estimates is not a very large one, for the reason that details still need to be worked out. It may be that, with the best will in the world, we cannot do more than make a beginning during this financial year; but the sum that is included in these Estimates is an outward and visible sign of a much bigger programme of developments which we hope to see in the next two or three years.

It is the first instalment of a bigger and more ambitious programme, the immediate object of which will be to run a weekly service between London, Karachi and Calcutta. The hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Pilcher) asked me some pertinent questions with reference to the details of this route. I promise the House that I will lay a White Paper as soon as the details are finally settled, and I hope there will be no undue delay in laying this White Paper. Meanwhile, let me deal with the two main criticisms he has made. He said first, will not the discomfort of travelling for seven or eight or nine days in an aeroplane be so great as to make it unlikely that many passengers will use it? He has had experience of flying, and so have I, and so far as I am concerned, whilst I have always been sick on the sea I have never been sick in the air, and I have never noticed the discomforts of which he seems to have had so vivid and unpleasant an example. Even if there are many passengers who will feel these discomforts I believe that there will be a demand from a sufficient number of people, to whom the increase of speed will be so great an advantage in travelling between England and India that they will face a certain limited number of uncomfortable hours. But if I am wrong, I still think there will be a substantial demand for the carriage of mails.

I think it quite possible that a route of this kind will begin perhaps with mails, and when it has been tried out and found to be punctual and safe that a demand will grow on the part of passengers. When we were making careful inquiries into the whole question of the air route between here and India we discussed the matter with the General Post Office, and the experts of the Post Office were definitely of opinion that, provided the service can run punctually and regularly, in a comparatively short time there would be a substantial amount of mails carried. We also consulted business men on the subject, and they were of the opinion that although the British community in Calcutta and other great Indian centres may be comparatively small, yet there will be a sufficient demand for the quicker transport of mails, which will mean letters going twice as quickly between England and India as they do now, and that every year will bring an increasing revenue to the company which operates this service. I agree with my hon. Friend to this extent, that a service of this kind must be decided by actual experience. To back our view we have the experience of the European services, where year by year the revenue has increased; and we also have the experience in particular of the Cairo-Basra service, where in the space of a few months the traffic carried has gone up two, three and fourfold. I hope, therefore, that the difficulties which the hon. Member foresees will not be as formidable as he suggested and that the beginning we are making in this year's Estimates will develop into a useful service between England and India, which will not only be of value politically but will bring an increasing revenue to the company which operates the service.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

From the business point of view it will help trade; and that is the most important part of the whole thing.


Certainly. The hon. and gallant Member for Bristol asked me in connection with the India route how it was that the Persian Government prevented us from operating a section along the Persian Gulf, and he seemed to think that if we had had more money at our disposal the difficulty would not have arisen. I can assure him that there was no question of money in the case at all. As I said in my opening speech on the Estimates, the attitude of the Persian Government is due to some misunderstanding for, as far as I could see, it can do nothing but good to the Persian Government. We asked for no subsidy from the Persian Government, and we were providing them with a quick and expeditious means of transport in one of the most inaccessible parts of the country. All I can say is that we are at the moment in further discussion with the Persian Government, and I hope they will realise that the service would be nothing but an advantage to themselves and that any misunderstanding on the subject will be removed. Then the hon. and gallant Member also raised the important question of our short-service officers, and suggested that by working them in with the Imperial Airway Company we might help civil aviation and at the same time provide ourselves with a sufficiency of young officers on the active list or in reserve. I should like to go further into the question with my hon. and gallant Friend. I am not clear from what he said as to what exactly he has in his mind. As at present advised, I see serious difficulties in the suggestion he has made, but he is so good a friend of the Air Force, and has taken such a keen interest in aviation for so long, that I shall be delighted to go into the details with him.

Let me content myself to-day with suggesting to him certain difficulties that I see in the proposition he has put forward, and I suggest these difficulties not in order to throw cold water on any suggestion, no matter where it comes from, but to show my hon. and gallant Friend how my mind is working, and if there is any substance in them he may be able to remove my difficulties. His suggestion, as I understood it, was that Imperial Airways should take on many more pilots, and that for a period of three months in the year they should go to the Air Force for a certain amount of military training, then come back to Imperial Airways and go on working as pilots in the service of the company. The first difficulty I see in this proposition is the difficulty of numbers. At present we need nearly a thousand short-service officers. As the House knows, the Air Force as it is organised needs a large number of young officers, for whom there are not senior jobs afterwards unless you create a surplus number of senior posts.

On that account we need to-day between 800 and 1,000 of these short-service officers. At present Imperial Airways are employing between 20 and 30 pilots. Even if his ambitious projects were carried out and the civil routes were increased three or four times, I do not see how we could have anything like the number of young officers that are urgently required for day to day work in the Force. Moreover, he should also remember that the officers are required for work not only here at home but in Iraq and with the Fleet Air Arm. I see grave difficulties from the point of view of training. Supposing Imperial Airways were to undertake training, I see serious drawbacks from the point of view of the administration of the company if the pilots were taken away to Iraq or to the Fleet Air Arm during the time of their engagement with the company. The more I go into the proposal, the more difficulties I see in it. It may be that I do not fully understand it. I suggest these difficulties to the House, not with a view to saying they are insoluble, but to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and ask him to give me further information upon them.


What happens to these young officers if there are no senior posts for them, and if civil aviation is not to be developed to absorb them? What do they do?


I will deal with that question in a moment, but I would ask if it is really wise to identify too closely military and civil aviation. I am quite aware that it is advisable to be able to call on civil aviation for a time of emergency, but I am not sure whether, from the point of view of civil flying, it is not wise to let civil aviation develop on its own lines not too closely tied up with military conditions and military considerations. The hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) said just now that he looked forward to civil aviation machines developing upon different lines from military machines. I believe that that is going to happen, and that the civil machine is going to be more and more distinct from the military machine, just as the Atlantic liner has become quite distinct from the battleship. I am not sure, therefore, that it is wise to embark on a policy which would militarise our civil aviation. I do not want to dogmatise on these questions, for hon. Members can give their own answers to them, but it does seem to me that at least from one point of view it would be a retrograde movement to tie civil flying up too much with military conditions and make the pilots in their civil flying almost exclusively military pilots and thus adopt the position, which may be true to-day but may not be true to-morrow, that you cannot distinguish between military and civil flying. I think I have said enough to show the right hon. Gentleman that, while I see grave difficulties in the proposal he is making, I am very anxious to investigate it further, and I shall certainly continue to give very careful attention to the wide considerations that he has raised in debate both to-day and last week as to the need for developing civil air routes on wider and bolder lines.

Then there is the question just raised by the hon. Lady opposite. She asked what happens to these short service officers when they leave the Force. We do what we can to find them appointments. I would not suggest that we are always successful, but in these Air Estimates we are making provision for a special organisation to find them employment. This organisation is based upon the lines of the Universities Appointments Board and although it has only been in existence for a comparatively short time we have been able to obtain quite a number of suitable posts for these young officers and I believe that, month by month and year by year, we shall be more successful. We are very anxious to keep in close touch with them. We feel we have responsibility as employers and we are certainly doing everything we can to find them appointments when they return to civil life.


Do I understand that the Service is still 800 or 1,000 short of these particular officers, and is the reason for it the difficulty they have of finding jobs after their training?


No, I said that in the Force there were 800 to 1,000 of these officers. It certainly is not true that we are short of them. I pass now to the question primarily raised by the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Rose), the question of airships. He said that he spoke from very deep conviction and that he made no personal attack on me or anyone else. All of us, who know him well, fully and unreservedly accept what he says. He always speaks with conviction and, because of that, every hon. Member in the House, whether he agrees with his view or not, listens to him with unusual interest and attention.


Is that such an unusual thing in this House?


No, I do not say that, but when an hon. Member speaks with obvious sincerity and has obviously studied the subject on which he speaks, the whole House listens to him with greater attention than it sometimes does to other speeches. I have listened to his speeches, week after week, year after year, and have heard the pessimistic acoounts he gives of the expenditure we are making. Again and again, I have to repeat to him very much the same answer. The answer—and I have to make it tonight—is quite frankly that this is an experiment.

It is a difficult experiment. It is, however, an experiment which I believe any Government is bound to make and the experiment must be judged, not by the claims of experts on the one side or the other, not by the claims of fanatics on the one side or the other, but by the actual results. All I can say to the hon. Member this evening is that we have, as far as is humanly possible, tested the claims of the designers. We have introduced new materials. We have brought in outside scientists. We have studied the lessons of the past. Let me say, in passing, that while I agree with him that the past shows many failures the past also shows the fact that airships have flown safely many thousands of miles. We have studied weather conditions in a manner in which they have never been studied before, and we believe that after this long period of experiment and research we are starting on an experiment—I will not put it higher than this— with better chances of success than we have ever had in the past. I therefore ask hon. Members to be patient for a little time longer. The two airships will be completed this year and should soon be undertaking their flying tests, and I would say to hon. Members to-night; Let us judge of the success of the programme, not by the claims of one side or the criticisms of the other, but by the actual results shown in the next two years. I come now to a number of separate questions which have been raised by various hon. Members. At the beginning of the Debate the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) asked me a question as to who would be in control of an operation in which merchant shipping was being attacked from the air.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I want to make this point quite clear, because it is not unimportant. I wish to know who will be responsible for defending our merchant ships in the future against air attack.


The answer depends on the particular circumstances of the operation. If it were on the high seas, it would be a naval operation. It is conceivable, however, that there might be an operation in the narrow seas within reach of land, where the operation would principally be an air operation, and in that case the control would be air control. It would depend on the actual circumstances.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I am thinking of what I conceive to be the most likely danger, namely, of our merchant ships being attacked by aeroplanes flying from land stations and not carried out to sea by a fleet. I do not think this last is practicable, but in the case of aeroplanes flying from land stations, who will be responsible for defending merchant ships?


In either case, the answer must depend on the circumstances. If the operation is principally a naval operation it will be controlled by the Navy; if it is principally an air operation it will be controlled by the Air Force.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Who is to supply the machines? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is not aware that the Fleet air arm is a tactical arm and cannot be separated from the Fleet and sent off on convoy.


It would be a case of co-operation between the services. The land-based aeroplanes would co-operate with the ship-borne aeroplanes. It is, I say again, a question which must depend on the circumstances of the case. The hon. and gallant Member for Everton (Colonel Woodcock) raised several questions and made an attack upon my Department for being extravagant. In the kindness of his heart he appeared to dissociate me from the officials of my Department. I cannot accept a position of that kind. I do not agree with him that I am badly served by the financial side of my Department. I think I am very well served, and I take full responsibility for any items in these Estimates, or any features of the financial policy of the Air Ministry which my hon. and gallant Friend wishes to criticise. I cannot help thinking, however, that he was a little unfortunate in the two items which he selected for criticism. He took first an item described as "hard-lying" money. If hon. Members look at this item in the Estimates they will see its explanation. My hon. and gallant Friend implied that it was an example of the extravagance of the Air Ministry. In actual practice it is nothing more than this. A certain number of airmen are engaged in work connected with flying boats and aeroplanes actually on the sea and these men are treated exactly like naval ratings. Naval ratings receive this kind of allowance and airmen receive exactly the same. It is not an example of the extravagance of the Air Ministry as compared with the other Service Departments. It is merely an act of justice to men serving in exactly the same position as naval ratings. Then the hon. Member alluded to the cadet college at Cranwell and seemed to think that the Air Ministry was extravagant in making provision for permanent buildings for the Cadet College course. As I told the House the other day, I do not think any building is more urgently required for the Air Force than these permanent buildings for the young men who are subsequently to become officers.


My criticism upon that was that £10,000 was included in the Estimates for this year and the Minister suggested before, that we should be able to discuss this matter. I asked that we might discuss the whole of this scheme before the buildings, costing £260,000, were commenced, and before we voted the £10,000.


The hon. and gallant Member is at perfect liberty to discuss it at any time. I can assure the House, as I have said, that no building is more urgently needed than a permanent building for these young cadets. At present they are living in war huts. A number of hon. Members have visited Cranwell, and I invite the hon. and gallant Memor any other who is doubtful as to the wisdom of this expenditure to go down there and see for himself, and I am certain he will be convinced that this is most urgently needed.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Why only £l0,000 this year?


We must cut our coat according to our money and proceed stage by stage. This is the first stage in the building programme.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

A Labour Government will have to finish it.


We shall see. I am inclined to think differently. I think the hon. and gallant Member is too sanguine. It is suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for Everton that the cost of the Cranwell cadets compares very unfavourably with that of the cadets at Sandhurst and Woolwich, but if the figures are analysed, it will be found that that is not so. If he compares like with like and cuts out the items of training that are peculiar to the three colleges, he will find that there is very little in it. We have only about 100 cadets as compared with many more at both Woolwich and Sandhurst, and I think I can tell him that as the numbers increase the cost per cadet will go down materially, and there will be no possibility of an unfavourable comparison between Cranwell and the two other Service colleges.

Then there was a series of questions raised by hon. Members connected, so it seemed to me, with the question of disarmament that we discussed a week ago. Let me only say to-night that those hon. Members have tried to put this dilemma to the House; You must either have an Air Force that is strong enough to drive every other Air Force from the air, or you must have no Air Force at all. That is a dilemma that I cannot accept, and the policy on which we are engaged is the policy of building up an Air Force sufficiently strong to make the risk so great that any country wishing to attack us will not dare to make the attack. I think that answer is sufficient to give to the hon. Members who say that because our Air Force is not strong enough to drive any other Air Force from the air, therefore we should have no Air Force at all.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think we have not reached a position of strength in accordance with his definition? Is our Air Force not yet strong enough to make the risk of another country attacking us too great?


I do not think our Air Force is sufficiently strong. Hon. Members will remember that we had a very full inquiry a few years ago by the Committee of Imperial Defence into the whole position, and we came to the conclusion that the minimum needed was 52 squadrons. But at present we have only 31 of these squadrons, and I shall not feel satisfied until I see that programme of 52 squadrons finally completed. Then there was the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Rear-Admiral Sueter), whose speeches in these Debates are always welcome and who asked one or two definite questions. He recurred in one of his speeches to a question he has raised before, namely, the question of the aircraft establishment at Farnborough. I know he thinks the work that we do there is not worth the money that we spend upon it, but I am afraid I do not agree with him, and I would ask him to go down to Farnborough and look round the establishment—I will provide him with any information that he requires on the subject—and I believe I shall convince him that the work we are doing there is very well worth the money we are spending upon it.

He asked me a question about trans-Atlantic flights, and there my answer is very much the answer which was given by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Rochester. I believe myself that it would be unwise for a Government Department to obtain legislative powers to prevent flights of that kind. So far as my own view is concerned, while I do not wish to disparage bravery and courage wherever they may be shown, I would much rather not see these flights attempted until we have got machines better qualified to make them. At the same time, I do see very grave difficulties in the way of any Department of State attempting to prevent individuals making flights of this kind if they desire to do so. Is it wise to attempt to control these flights, and even if it is wise, is it practicable? How can I or any Department tell when a pilot is actually going to fly? Many of these flights are made and attempted without my knowledge. Is it wise for a Government Department to take upon itself the responsibility of saying whether or not a flight shall he made? While I do not wish to dogmatise on a question of this kind, at present I take the view that it would be unwise for a Government Department to undertake responsibilities of that kind, and I feel sure that the more hon. Members will study the question, the more formidable will they find the difficulties in the way of any control.

There was one further question, raised by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) at the end of the Debate. The hon. Member took a number of items from the building programme of the Air Force, and gave them as examples of the extravagance of the Air Ministry and of the programme shown in the Estimates. Those examples are illustrations, not of our extravagance, but of our economy, for they rather prove, what I have often told the House, that the Air Force units up to the present have in many cases been living in war huts and that we have no permanent barracks, or scarcely any, owing to the fact that we are a new Service. The time has come when we have to have permanent accommodation for our officers and men if they are to be properly housed. I am dealing with buildings alone in this country, and I can tell the hon. Member that that expenditure is needed, first of all, to provide permanent accommodation to replace old huts and, secondly, to provide accommodation for certain new units.

So far as Singapore is concerned, the accommodation there, as I told the House the other day, is a part of the general Singapore scheme, and assuming Singapore is to be a big naval base, obviously there must be accommodation for an Air Force operating both from the land and from the fleet. In the case of Malta, Malta has now become an important air base, and the aerodrome accommodation there is inadequate. Unfortunately, land is very expensive in that thickly populated island, and we have now to spend a considerable sum of money in buying new aerodromes and making new aerodrome accommodation. I think I have now dealt with practically all the questions that have been raised to-day, and, indeed, a week ago.


There are still two points, one with regard to chemical warfare, and the other with regard to machinery and plant at Farnborough.


With regard to chemical warfare, that comes under the War Office, and all that the Air Ministry is responsible for is a small grant-in-aid for the work for which the War Office is responsible. As regards the machinery at Farnborough, I am not quite sure to what machinery the hon. Member refers.


The items of £50,000 and £3,000 on page 22 of the Estimates.


That is materials and stores for the experimental work that is being carried out at Farnborough. I have now dealt with practically all the questions that have been raised. Let me again thank hon. Members for having made very valuable suggestions to me in the course of the Debate.


What about insurance?


That question was raised by the right hon. Member for Bristol, North (Captain Guest) about two years ago. I took what action I could with the insurance companies, and I am glad to say that they made a very substantial reduction in the premiums that they were charging flying officers. Indeed, they made such substantial reductions that I am inclined to think that no useful purpose would be served by reopening the question with them so soon after the changes have taken place. But I can tell the hon. and gallant Member that I will take into account the suggestion that he has made to me, as to the State paying for the excess premiums charged for the risks in which flying officers are involved, and I will see if anything further can be done.

Question put, "That '32,500' stand part of the Resolution."

The House divided; Ayes, 217; Noes, 90.

Division No. 50.] AYES. [9.58 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Gates, Percy
Albery, Irving James Chapman, Sir S. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Alexander, E. E. (Ley ton) Christie, J. A. Goft, Sir Park
Allen,J.Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Clayton, G. C. Gower, Sir Robert
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Cobb, Sir Cyril Grace, John
Astor, Maj. Hn.John J.(Kent, Dover) Colman, N. C. D. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Atkinson, C. Conway, Sir W. Martin Greene, W. P. Crawford
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cope, Major William Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Couper, J. B. Grotrian, H. Brent
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Berry, Sir George Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Gunston, Captain D. W.
Bethel, A. Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Hacking, Douglas H.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)
Blundell, F. N. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Hamilton, Sir George
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Harland, A.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major sir A. B. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil) Harrison, G. J. C.
Bralthwalte, Major A. N. Davies, Dr. Vernon Hartington, Marquess of
Briscoe, Richard George Dawson, Sir philip Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Brittaln, Sir Harry Drewe, C. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Edmondson, Major A. J. Haslam, Henry C.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I England, Colonel A. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Ersklne, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxl'd, Henjey)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Ersklne, James Malcolm Monteith Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivlan
Buchan, John Fairfax, Captain J. G. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Buckingham, Sir H. Fenby, T. D. Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Finburgh, S. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Forrest, W. Hilton, Cecl'
Carver, Major W. H. Fraser, Captain lan Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.C.) Galbraith, J. F. W. Holt, Capt. H. P.
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph Smithers, Waldron
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Nelson, Sir Frank Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hopkins, J. W. W. Neville, Sir Reginald J. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G.F.
Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Hume, Sir G. H. Nicholson, Col. Rt.Ho.W.G.(Ptrst'ld.) Storry-Deans, R.
Hurd, Percy A. Nuttall, Ellis Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Hurst, Gerald B. Oakley, T. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford. Luton) Styles, Captain H. Walter
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth. Cen'l) Pennefather, Sir John Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Penny, Frederick George Thom, Lt.-Col J. G. (Dumbarton)
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Lamb, J. Q. Perkins, Colonel E. K. Thomson, F. C, (Aberdeen, South)
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Tinne, J. A.
Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Pilcher, G. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Long, Major Eric Pownall, Sir Assheton Tomlinson, R. P.
Looker, Herbert William Preston, William Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Lougher, Lewis Price, Major C. W. M. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Raine, Sir Walter Waddington, R.
Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Ramsden. E. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Lumley, L. R. Rawson, Sir Cooper Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
MacAndrew, Major Charles Gien Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington) Warrender, Sir Victor
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Reid, D. D. (County Down) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Mecdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Remer, J. R. Wells, S. R.
Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
McLean, Major A. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Wiggins, William Martin
Macmilian, captain H. Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Ropner, Major L. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Mac Robert, Alexander M. Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Rye, F. G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Margesson, Capt. D. Salmon, Major I. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Withers, John James
Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Womersley, W, J.
Meller, R. J. Sandeman, N. Stewart Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Sanderson, Sir Frank Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Shepperson, E. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Skelton, A. N. Captain Bowyer and Captain Wallace.
Moreing, Captain A. H. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne.C )
Murchison, Sir Kenneth Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Groves, T. Scurr, John
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Grundy, T. W. Sexton, James
Alexander. A. V (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Ammon, Charles George Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston) Hardle, George D. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, Walter Hayday, Arthur Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barr, J. Hayes, John Henry Smith, H. B. Loes (Kelghley)
Batey, Joseph Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Snell, Harry
Bondfield, Margaret Hirst, G. H. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Broad, F. A. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Stamford, T. W.
Bromfield, William Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stewart, J (St. Rollox)
Bromley, J. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Sutton, J. E.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Kelly, W. T. Tinker, John Joseph
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kennedy, T. Townend, A. E.
Cape, Thomas Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury, George Varley, Frank B.
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, John James Viant, S. P.
Compton. Joseph Lee, F. Wallhead, Richard C.
Cove, W. G. Lindley, F. W. Waish, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dalton, Hugh Lowth, T. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondde)
Day, Harry Lunn, William Wellock, Wilfred
Dennison, R. Mackinder, W. Welsh, J. C.
Dunnico, H. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Westwood, J.
Gardner, J. P. Maxton, James Whiteley, W.
Gibbins, Joseph Montague, Frederick Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Gillett, George M. Murnin, H. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Gosling, Harry Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wright, W.
Greenall, T. Potts, John S. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Rose, Frank H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Scrymgeour, E. Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Paling.

Fourth Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 210; Noes, 88.

Division No. 51.] AYES. [10.8 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Hamilton, Sir George Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Albery, Irving James Harland, A. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Harrison, G. J. C. Plicher, G.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool,W. Derby) Hartington, Marquess of Pownall, Sir Assheton
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Preston, William
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Price, Major C. W. M.
Atkinson. C. Haslam, Henry C. Ralne, Sir Walter
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Ramsden, E.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Henderson, Lieut-Col. Sir Vivlan Rees, Sir Beddoe
Berry, Sir George Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Reid, Capt, Cunningham (Warrington)
Bethel, A. Henn, Sir Sydney H. Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Remer, J. R.
Blundell, F. N. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hilton, Cecil Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Ropner, Major L.
Briscoe, Richard George Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Brittain, Sir Harry Holt, Capt. H. P. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Rye, F. G.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Salmon, Major I.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hopkins, J. W. W. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Buchan, John Hume, Sir G. H Sandeman, N. Stewart
Buckingham, Sir H. Hurd, Percy A. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hurst, Gerald B. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Shepperson, E. W.
Carver, Major W. H. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Skelton, A. N.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C. )
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.) King, Commodore Henry Douglas Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Lamb, J. Q. Smithers, Waldron
Christle, J. A. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Clayton, G. C. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G.F.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Long, Major Eric Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Colman, N. C. D. Locker, Herbert William Storry-Deans, R.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Lougher, Lewis Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Cope, Major William Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Couper, J. B. Luce, Maj.-Gen, Sir Richard Harman Styles, Captain H. Walter
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Lumley, L. R. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. McLean, Major A. Tinne, J. A.
Davies, Maj. Geo.F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Macmlilan, Captain H. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Davies, Dr. Vernon Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Tomlinson. R. P.
Dawson, Sir Philip MacRobert, Alexander M. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Drewe, C. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
England, Colonel A. Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Waddington, R.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Margesson, Captain D. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Warner, Brigadler-General W. W.
Fenby, T. D. Meller, R. J. Warrender, Sir Victor
Finburgh, S. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw- Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Wells, S. R.
Forrest, W. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Fraser, Captain lan Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Wiggins, William Martin
Gadle, Lieut.-Colonel Anthony Moore, Sir Newton J. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Galbraith, J. F. W. Moreing, Captain A. H. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Gates, Percy Murchison, Sir Kenneth Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Gower, Sir Robert Nelson, Sir Frank Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Grace, John Neville, Sir Reginald J. Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Withers, John James
Greene, W. P. Crawford Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn.W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.) Womersley, W. J.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Nuttall, Ellis Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Grotrian, H. Brent Oakley, T. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Gunston, Captain D. W. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Hacking, Douglas H. Pennefather, Sir John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny..
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Broad, F. A. Cove, W. G.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Bromfield, William Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universitie
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Bromfey, J. Dalton, Hugh
Ammon, Charles George Brown, Ernest (Leith) Day, Harry
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston) Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Dennison, R.
Baker, Walter Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Dunnico, H.
Barr, J. Charieton, H. C. Gardner, J. P.
Batey, Joseph Compton, Joseph Gibbins, Joseph
Gillett, George M. Lee, F. Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)
Gosling, Harry Lindley, F. W. Snell, Harry
Greenall, T. Lowth, T. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Lunn, William Stamford, T. W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Mackinder, W. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Groves, T. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Sutton, J. E.
Grundy, T. W. Maxton, James Tinker, John Joseph
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Montague, Frederick Townend, A. E.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Murnin, H. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Hardle, George D. Oliver, George Harold Varley, Frank B.
Hayday, Arthur Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan) Viant, S. P.
Hayes, John Henry Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Wallhead, Richard C
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Potts, John S. Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Hirst, G. H. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Rose, Frank H. Wellock, Wilfred
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Scrymgeour, E. Welsh, J. C.
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Scurr, John Westwood, J.
Kelly, W. T. Sexton, James Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Kennedy, T. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Williams, T (York, Don Valley)
Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Shepherd, Arthur Lewls Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Lansbury, George Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Lawson, John James Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Paling.

Fifth Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 215; Noes, 89.

Division No. 52.] AYES. [10.15 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Fairfax, Captain J. G. King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Albery, Irving James Fenby, T. D. Lamb, J. Q.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Finburgh, S. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Allen, J.Sandeman (L'pool, W.Derby) Forestler-Walker, Sir L Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Allen. J.Sandeman (L'pool, W.Derby) Forestler-Walker, Sir L Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Forrest, W. Lona, Major Eric
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover) Foster, Sir Harry S. Looker, Herbert William
Atkinson, C. Fraser, Captain Ian Lougher, Lewis
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Galbraith, J. F. W. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Gates, Percy Lumley, L. R.
Bethel, A. Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Gower, Sir Robert Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Blundell, F. N. Grace, John Macdonald, Capt. P. D, (I. of W.)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Greene, W. P. Crawford McLean, Major A.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Macmillan, Captain H.
Briscoe, Richard George Grotrian, H. Brent Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Brittain, Sir Harry Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Gunston, Captain D. W. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Hacking, Douglas H. Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Brown-Lindsay, Major H. Hall, Capt. W, D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Margesson, Captain D.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Hamilton, Sir George Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Buchan, John Harland, A. Mason, Colonel Glyn K.
Buckingham, Sir H. Harrison, G. J. C. Meller, R. J.
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Hartington, Marquess of Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Carver, Major W. H. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Haslam, Henry C. Moore Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.S.) Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Moore, Sir Newton J.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evefyn (Aston) Henderson,Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Moreing, Captain A. H.
Christle, J. A. Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivlan Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Clayton, G. C. Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Cobb, Sir Cyril Henn, Sir Sydney H. Nelson, Sir Frank
Colman, N. C. D. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L, (Exeter)
Cope, Major William Hills, Major John Waller Nicholson, Col. Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)
Couper. J. B. Hilton, Cecil Nuttall, Ellis
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Oakley, T.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Holt, Capt. H. P. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Galnsbro) Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Pennefather, Sir John
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Curzon, Captain Viscount Hopkins, J. W. W. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil) Hume, Sir G. H. Pilcher, G.
Davies, Dr. Vernon Hurd, Percy A. Pownall, Sir Assheton
Dawson, Sir Philip Hurst, Gerald B. Preston, William
Drewe, C. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Price, Major C. W. M.
England, Colonel A. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Raine, Sir Walter
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Ramsden, E.
Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Rees, Sir Beddoe Smithers, Waldron Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Warrender, Sir Victor
Reid, D. D. (County Down) Spender-Clay, Colonel H. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carilsle)
Remer, J. R. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Wells, S. R.
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Storry-Deans, R. Wiggins, William Martin
Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Ropner, Major L. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Styles, Captain H. W. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wilson Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Rye, F. G. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Salmon, Major I. Thom, Lt.-Col J. G. (Dumbarton) windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Samuel, A M. (Surrey, Farnham) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Withers, John James
Sandeman, N. Stewart Tinne, J. A. Womersley. W. J.
Sanderson, Sir Frank Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Sassoon Sir Philip Albert Gustave D Tomlinson, R. P. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Shepperson, E. W. Vaughan-Morgan, Col K. P.
Skelton, A. N. Waddington, R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Klnc'dlne.C.) Wallace, Captain D. E. Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Ward,Lt-Col.A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Scrymgeour, E.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Scurr, John
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hardle, George D. Sexton, James
Ammon, Charles George Hayday, Arthur Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hayes, John Henry Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, Walter Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barr, J. Hirst, G. H. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Batey, Joseph Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)
Broad, F. A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphlliy) Snell, Harry
Bromfield, William Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bromley. J. Kelly, W. T. Stamford, T. W.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Kennedy, T. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Sutton, J. E.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Lansbury, George Tinker, John Joseph
Charleton, H. C. Lawson, John James Townend, A. E.
Compton, Joseph Lee, F. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Cove, W. G. Lindley, F. W. Varley, Frank B.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Lowth, T. Viant, S. P.
Dalton, Hugh Lunn, William Wallhead, Richard C.
Day, Harry Mackinder, W. Waish, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dennison, R. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dunnico, H. Maxton, James Wellock, Wilfred
Gardner, J. P. Montague, Frederick Welsh. J. C.
Gibbins, Joseph Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) westwood, J.
Gillett, George M. Murnin, H. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Gosling, Harry Oliver, George Harold Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T. Parkinson, John Allen(Wigan) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Potts, John S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Groves, T. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Paling.
Grundy, T. W. Rose, Frank H.

Question put, and agreed to.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.