HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1349-50
39. Sir A. Knox

asked the Postmaster-General how long air mail letters are supposed to take to reach India, as 14 letters addressed to an officer there with postmarks dated from 22nd July till 8th September took from 39 to 59 days to reach their destination.

Mr. R. Grimston

The aircraft capacity available for mails is not sufficient to enable ordinary 1s. 3d. air mail letters for India to be conveyed by air throughout, and this relatively heavy type of correspondence has to be sent by sea to Egypt, where it is transferred to the air route: the time of transmission to the Base in India by this sea-cum-air route has varied recently from 3½ to 6½ weeks. If my hon. and gallant Friend will let me have particulars of the dates of posting and receipt of the letters to which he refers, I shall be happy to have further inquiry made.

Sir A. Knox

As these letters are not conveyed all the way by air mail, is it not a swindle to demand the fee under false pretences?

Mr. Grimston

We have often considered that point, but there is a certain acceleration as compared with mail sent by the sea route all the way, and hitherto we have thought it right to give that advantage, for which we charge the. 1s. 3d.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that men serving in India are under the impression that letters can be conveyed all the way by air mail? Is it not necessary, in view of what the hon. Gentleman has said, to correct that impression or, at any rate, make it possible to send those letters by air mail?

Mr. Grimston

There is an air-mail service all the way by the 6d. air letter or the airgraph. This other service is for letters of such weight as cannot be carried all the way by air.

Sir A. Knox

Cannot the service be called "partial air service"?