§ 17. Sir John Mellor
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the previous experience of flying and service with the Fleet Air Arm of the present Chief of Naval Air Services?
§ Mr. George Hall
Although the present Chief of Naval Air Services has not served in the Fleet Air Arm, he has had considerable experience of this Service in important sea appointments during his distinguished career. Both as Flag Officer in command of the Battle Cruiser Squadron, which in those days included the aircraft carriers of the Home Fleet, and as Commander-in-Chief, China, he has had operational and administrative control of important units of the Fleet Air Arm. Admiral Dreyer was also for 2½ years Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff during a period when one of the functions of that appointment was the superintendence of naval air work.
§ Sir J. Mellor
With the greatest possible respect for this very distinguished Admiral, may I ask whether there is no younger man with practical experience of flying who could suitably be promoted to fill this very important position?
§ Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes
Is not the Minister aware that there are naval officers who have had very considerable flying experience in the Fleet Air Arm but who have not been employed in connection with naval aviation during the whole course of this war?
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby
Is it not a fact that there are junior flag officers who have had long experience in the Fleet Air Arm and who have not been employed, although they are perfectly capable of taking this job, instead of an elderly, though very distinguished, flag officer being brought back?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
Can the Minister say what were the dates of the experience to which he alluded, and what were the services of the Admiral for five years before this appointment?