HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 cc1518-9
42. Sir John Graham-Kerr

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that instructions for carrying out the methods of war camouflage, known as counter-shading and dazzle, were promulgated to the Fleet in a General Order, D. 0239/14, on 10th November, 1914; that repeated representations were made by the author of these instructions that they were not being carried out accurately, accompanied by the offer of his voluntary assistance towards putting matters right; whether his offer was accepted; whether the person in question was invited to serve on any of the advisory committees on camouflage or, alternatively, invited to substantiate his criticisms; and, if not, why not?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir Victor Warrender)

The document to which the hon. Member refers was promulgated to the Fleet not as an instruction but for information, and it expressly stated that the trial or adoption of proposals made therein was left to the discretion of flag officers, etc., concerned. In consequence, the second and third parts of the Question do not arise. So far as I have been able to trace, the hon. Member was not invited to sit during the last war on any advisory committee on the camouflage of sea-going ships, nor was any formal invitation issued to him to substantiate his criticisms of the policy of the then Board of Admiralty. The reason for the former was that his views were not accepted by the Admiralty, and for the latter that, so far as merchantmen were concerned, a rival system of camouflage had been adopted and was considered satisfactory, while for His Majesty's ships the policy of the Board was not to interfere with the discretion of Commanders-in-Chief. I should like to assure the hon. Member that the proposals he made in 1914 were reviewed some time ago to ensure that in this war no useful idea should be left out of account.