HC Deb 19 December 1941 vol 376 c2230
7. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for War why, after the experience of Crete, inadequate steps were taken to protect the aerodromes in Malaya; what action has been taken in regard to the officer or officers responsible; and whether the War Office is responsible for similar defence in Burma?

Mr. Sandys

All steps possible, within the resources available, were taken to protect aerodromes in Malaya. In all cases, the loss of aerodromes has been the result of a general advance of the invading forces. As far as I am aware, aerodromes have not been singled out for detailed attack by air-borne troops. The situation in Malaya is in no way comparable with that in Crete. There is no information to suggest that any officer responsible for the defence of these aerodromes has failed in his duty. As regards the last part of the Question, the Army is responsible for aerodrome defence in Burma.

Mr. Wedgwood

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied with the amount of defence that was provided at these aerodromes in Malaya?

Mr. Sandys

Full information is naturally not yet available, but, as far as we know, every effort was made, within the resources available, to defend these aerodromes, and I regret the suggestion in the right hon. Gentleman's question that officers have failed in their duty.

Mr. Shinwell

Were the resources adequate? If not, why not? May we have an answer to that question?