HC Deb 26 February 1941 vol 369 cc502-3
19. Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can now state with accuracy the damage done to the Italian Fleet by the Fleet Air Arm at Taranto; and also what awards were given to the pilots who delivered this torpedo attack?

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

The damage announced in the Admiralty communiques of 13th and 15th November has been fully confirmed by subsequent reports, one of the battleships of the "Cavour" class having apparently been abandoned as a total loss. Another vessel of this class and a "Littorio" class battleship were badly damaged, and are still out of action. There is no further information of the two cruisers which were shown by aerial photograph to be listed to starboard and surrounded by oil fuel, or of the two fleet auxiliaries which were lying with their sterns under water. Two D.S.Os. and four D.S.Cs. have been awarded to the crews of the aircraft which took part in this action.

Sir M. Sueter

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that that is an adequate reward to these pilots of the Fleet Air Arm for knocking out half of the Italian battle fleet?

Mr. Alexander

I am sure that my hon. and gallant Friend would wish the Board of Admiralty to receive and consider the recommendations of the Commander-in-Chief. I think it is quite possible that further recommendations will come from the Commander-in-Chief.

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