HC Deb 13 December 1937 vol 330 c800
29. Mr. Montague

asked the Postmaster-General whether, arising out of the wreck of the flying boat Cygnus, carying a heavy Christmas mail, he can give any information as to the losses consequent upon the dislocation of business by these accidents; whether representations have been made to Imperial Airways, Limited, as to the necessity for providing rubber or other waterproof mail bags in order to preserve the contents; if so, what reply was given by Imperial Airways, Limited; and whether he contemplates any measures to safeguard air mails?

Major Tryon

I am advised that the great bulk of the mails has been salvaged and that the damage done to individual letters is on a comparatively small scale. I much regret the consequential delay in delivery. The number of cases in which letters have been lost owing to accidents during the eight years of operation of the Empire air services is not such as to suggest that it is necessary to resort to the costly expedient of providing special containers to meet the risks to which any form of transport is unfortunately liable.

Mr. Montague

Does not the Postmaster-General consider waterproof bags a very elementary proposal?

Major Tryon

It is a very expensive, and not a particularly good one. One of the common risks from which these mails suffer is the risk of fire, in which rubber is not a good protection.

Miss Wilkinson

If the Postmaster-General cannot preserve the mails against fire, cannot be protect them from the risk of water just to be going on with?

Major Tryon

The facts are these. During 1935, 1936 and 1937 Imperial Airways performed 1,270 air-mail carrying flights on Empire routes, and in only seven instances were any mails partly damaged or lost.