HC Deb 20 December 1944 vol 406 cc1759-60
19. Captain Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he has any statement to make on the disappearance of Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory.

Sir A. Sinclair

I much regret that the extensive search and inquiries which have been made have not established the cause of the loss of Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory's aircraft or the fate of the occupants.

Captain Gammans

Can my right hon. Friend not say where this disaster took place, in view of the fact that the Germans claim to have shot the plane down?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir; I cannot answer the first part of the question. A court of inquiry has been held and has investigated the circumstances most carefully, and it is not possible to give an answer to the first part of the question. As regards the second part, I do not think there is the slightest substance in the German claim. My hon. and gallant Friend might have mentioned that it was supposed to have been shot down by a new type of long-range fighter, but we know that the Germans possess no new type of long-range fighter.

Mr. Leach

Is this officer presumed to to be dead?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir; six months have to elapse before it is possible officially to presume death.