HC Deb 25 March 1942 vol 378 cc1973-4
8. Captain Cunningham-Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Air what inquiries have been made into the possibility that for a long time we bombed dummies in French ports mistaking them for the now escaped German battleships?

Sir A. Sinclair

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that no such mistake was made.

Captain Cunningham-Reid

Is not the Minister aware that the opinion expressed in the Question has also been the opinion of airmen who have actually been over the targets themselves? Is he further aware that, when I made that suggestion to the, Under-Secretary nearly a year ago in this House, it was dismissed in a decidedly offhand manner?

Sir A. Sinclair

I daresay it may have been, but I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that there may be some confusion in the information which he has received from the pilots. We were aware that there were dummy ships there, and no doubt the pilots have told my hon. and gallant Friend that that was so, but we could distinguish between them. From all the information at my disposal I can assure him that no effort was wasted.

Mr. Thorne

Surely airmen know whether they are bombing dummies or otherwise?

Sir Herbert Williams

If the real ships were hit, how did they sail so safely up the Channel?

Sir A. Sinclair

It was after ten and a half months.

Sir H. Williams

Were they not bombed for ten and a half months?