HC Deb 07 April 1948 vol 449 cc139-40
5. Squadron-Leader Kinghorn

asked the Secretary of State for Air what was the largest tonnage of bombs dropped on German territory in one night by the Royal Air Force; and what was the largest tonnage dropped by the Luftwaffe in one night in this country during the late war.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas)

Five thousand, five hundred tons and 1,200 tons, respectively.

Squadron-Leader Kinghorn

Can my hon. Friend give any indication of the casualties caused by these two raids and also will he say, for our benefit and for the benefit of the House in future debates on Civil Defence, whether we can be given some idea of the effectiveness of bombing in the last war?

Mr. de Freitas

On the first point, I can give the figures, though they in themselves are no indication of the success or failure of the operations. The attack on Germany was principally on Duisberg and it is estimated that about 2,400 people were killed.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge


Mr. de Freitas

In the attack on this country, London was the main target and 1,300 people were killed.

An Hon. Member

Is that still disgraceful?

Mr. de Freitas

On the second point, as to the availability of evidence, there will be published this year a book giving the estimated effect of strategic bombing in the last war.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Do not these figures indicate that we were more effective baby killers than the, Huns?

Mr. Scollan

May I ask if these 1,500 tons were dropped on one city in a single night?

Mr. de Freitas

Actually, it was 1,200 tons, and the bombs were dropped principally on London, on 19th April, 1941.