HC Deb 17 June 1941 vol 372 cc477-8
45. Mr. de Rothschild

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to a recent speech by the Canadian Minister for National Defence in which he referred to a device for the detection of enemy aircraft; and whether he has any statement to make on this subject?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Attlee)

Yes, Sir. Thanks to the brilliant work of our scientists, great progress has been made in devising means of helping the Fighting Services in their task of locating and destroying the enemy. This contributed in no small measure to our victory in the Battle of Britain last autumn, and there have since been developments of high promise in many directions. Our industries are now turning out increasing quantities of ingenious apparatus which, for its maintenance and repair, demands large numbers of skilled men, especially radio mechanics. Training in this work is being given by the Fighting Services, assisted by the universities and technical colleges throughout the country. The Dominions and other parts of the Empire are also helping us. Canada, in particular, is organising powerful aid. Our need for these craftsmen is increasing rapidly, and we want more and more of them. My noble Friend the Minister of State will therefore broadcast in the Empire programme to-night a special invitation to men overseas with technical experience to come forward and help us in the maintenance and repair of the new equipment which is now passing into the hands of the Services and thus join their skill and knowledge with those of our scientists and technicians in our active endeavours.

Mr. Bellenger

Will my right hon. Friend cause similar instructions to be sent to the Army, because there is no doubt that some men there have the necessary qualifications and should be released for this work?

Mr. Attlee

I will consider that point.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Does not this show the disastrous lack of interest in science by all previous Governments and most of the Members of this House in the past?