HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc625-6
17. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied with the provision for speedy repair of aerodromes in this country which may be damaged by enemy action; and whether he is relying solely upon maintenance contractors for this work?

Sir A. Sinclair

The Air Ministry does not depend for the repair of aerodromes damaged by enemy action entirely on maintenance contractors, and some time ago units of the Royal Air Force were created, each of which is equipped with its own plant and machinery and able to execute emergency repairs where and when required in the minimum of time. This force works in combination with the civil repair organisation set up by my Department at the outbreak of war. This organisation consists of mobile works repair depots established in various parts of the country, self-contained as to skilled and unskilled labour and mechanical equipment.

Mr. Simmonds

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that it is borne in mind that these repair organisations will very frequently have to operate under continued hostile bombardment, and, therefore, are all the details which are likely to be used in these contingencies being carefully worked out, so that there will be an operational code which will be understood in these emergency conditions?

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, Sir, that is the object of the formation of this body to which I have referred, which is a uniformed and disciplined body and will be available to be moved about from aerodrome to aerodrome wherever the need is greatest.

Mr. Granville

Can the Minister give an assurance that the defence of these aerodromes by panzer equipment is being carried out, so that it will not be necessary to destroy them?

Sir A. Sinclair

I do not think that that arises out of the Question.