HC Deb 15 June 1938 vol 337 cc221-2
51. Mr. Pearson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have volunteered for service in connection with air-raid precautions in Glamorganshire; and what will be the relationship of the civilian air-raid precautions officer to the police authorities in times of emergency?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

I regret that I have not been able to obtain figures from all county districts within the administrative county, but in the three county boroughs and 18 of the county districts I understand that there are 2,447 persons enrolled for air-raid general precautions services. A further 1,543 persons are reported to have been recruited in the county boroughs, boroughs, and urban districts in connection with the emergency fire schemes. With regard to the second part of the question, my right hon. Friend will, no doubt, receive the views of the county council on this subject as part of their scheme under the Act.

52. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Home Secretary whether it is intended to make the covering of windows in houses with paint or blinds compulsory; and, if so, will persons unable to afford either be provided with them?

Mr. Lloyd

The scheme contemplated is that for the darkening of windows of lighted rooms any opaque material may be used, such as curtains, blankets or thick sheets of brown paper. No occasion will arise for the provision of special equipment.

Mr. Smith

Does not the Minister know that in some industrial districts it is impossible to make some of the houses gas-proof whatever you use?

53. Mr. Smith

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the statement in Air-Raid Precautions Handbook No. 6, that efficient dark glasses must be worn when approaching a bomb in a factory, he will state why they are not required in a dwelling-house?

Mr. Lloyd

The experience gained since Air-Raid Precautions Handbook No. 6 was published has shown that dark glasses are not necessary, as was formerly thought to be the case, in dealing with incendiary bombs. Subsequent publications have therefore omitted this instruction, and the next edition of the handbook in question will be amended accordingly.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is that true of all sizes of incendiary bombs, or of only the smaller size?

Mr. Lloyd

It is a question largely of the smaller type.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that nearly all the incendiary bombs used in Spain are of 40 or 5o lbs., for which dark glasses are necessary?

Mr. Lloyd

That does not accord with our information; a number of fairly small bombs have been used.

and 57. Colonel Nathan

asked the Home Secretary (1) the terms of reference to the committee appointed to inquire into certain questions relating to hospitals in the event of air-raids;

(2) whether he will consider appointing, as additions to the committee inquiring into certain questions relating to hospitals in the event of air-raids, some person with experience as a member of the lay committee of the voluntary hospitals, and some person with experience as secretary, or similar executive officer, of voluntary hospitals?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend did not formally appoint a committee to make a report on the organisation of casualty hospitals, but invited a small number of eminent persons in the medical world to consider the proposals which had been worked out by the Departments and to make recommendations to him on various matters. It was understood that this body could take into consultation any one likely to be able to help them, and it was suggested to my right hon. Friend on their behalf that he should invite persons representing voluntary hospitals in the London area to take part in their deliberations. My right hon. Friend would have done this, but, as he stated in the House on 1st June, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health will take over the supervision of the organisation of war hospitals, and I understand he has issued an invitation on the lines suggested.