HC Deb 10 March 1942 vol 378 cc918-9
38. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the Director of the Air Training Corps was authorised to say that dive-bombers were obsolete; and whether that represents the conclusions of the Ministry in view of the proved success of the small Douglas dive-bombers in the Far East?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

My hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. Wakefield), who is also Director of the Air Training Corps in the Air Ministry, was speaking to an audience of technical students and members of the Air Training Corps and was voicing a purely personal opinion. He was not expressing in any way the authoritative view of the Air Ministry, which he could only do on matters coming within the sphere of the directorate of which I am glad to say he has consented to become the head.

Mr. Smith

Do I take it from that reply that the Air Ministry do not accept the statement made in the speech? If so, it is important that it should be made quite clear, because of the discouraging effect on men engaged in manufacturing dive-bombers.

Captain Balfour

The view of the Air Ministry on dive-bombers is an entirely different question from that which appears on the Order Paper. The hon. Member asks as to whether the hon. Member for Swindon was speaking authoritatively, and I said in my reply that he was expressing his personal view.

Mr. Stephen

Can the Under-Secretary say whether that view is also the view of the Air Ministry?

Captain Balfour

Not in reply to this Question, but if the hon. Member puts down a Question he can, of course, have a reply.