HC Deb 25 January 1940 vol 356 cc777-8
64. Sir M. Sueter

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state what caused the fire that destroyed the flying-boat "Connemara" at Hythe, on the 19th June last; whether immediate steps are being taken to see that the recommendations of the inspector of explosives to improve the design of the refuelling petrol barges are being carried out; whether his suggested improvements for filling the flying-boats are being taken in hand; and whether he can give an assurance that steps are being taken to see that only experienced men will be employed to form the crew of these refuelling barges?

Sir J. Anderson

The fire was caused by a backfire in a Diesel oil-engine on the refuelling barge igniting petrol which had accidently accumulated in the cockpit of the barge. I understand that my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Transport, has in hand the question of enforcing the suggested improvements of the method of fuelling flying-boats, and that the owners of the refuelling barge have adopted the improvements of design recommended. I am assured that it is the general policy of the owners to utilise the services of experienced employés only.