HC Deb 12 May 1943 vol 389 cc597-8
5. Mr. Purbrick

asked the Secretary of State for Air the size and number of bombs dropped in the crater of Mount Vesuvius; and whether he will give full details of the operation?

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

I presume the hon. Member is referring to a recent Press report to the effect that bombs were dropped on Vesuvius by accident during the first raid on Naples in 1940. No report of this incident has been received in my Department.

Mr. Hannah

Would not Fuji Yama have been a better target?

Mr. Purbrick

Is it not a fact that no scientific evidence exists to show that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves cannot be produced by artificial means? Would it not be advisable for the Air Ministry to have some experiments carried out?

Captain Balfour

My hon. Friend may be assured that we have been in touch with seismologists, who are experts in this aspect of the possibilities of bombing.

Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward

Has my right hon. and gallant Friend ever heard of the old proverb about carrying coals to Newcastle?

Mr. Stokes

Before the right hon. and gallant Member goes any further, may I remind him that I am one of the few people who have flown round the inside of the crater in an aeroplane, and that the active part of the crater is only about 12 feet in diameter?

Sir Edward Campbell

Why did the hon. Member not stop there?