HC Deb 03 November 1954 vol 532 cc375-6
45. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will increase the number of helicopters available for use by the Army in Kenya.

Mr. Ward

We are not certain how far helicopters are suitable for use in this theatre, and I think we should wait and see how the Sycamore that has just arrived out there gets on.

Mr. Chetwynd

Is it true that there is only one helicopter in service there now, and can the hon. Gentleman say why it took such a long time to get this one there? Is not he aware of the comments of Brigadier Thurlow on the desirability of increasing the number of helicopters to be used for evacuating the wounded and getting on with the offensive against Mau Mau in that theatre?

Mr. Ward

The reason for the delay has been mainly production difficulties, combined with the demands of Malaya. One helicopter has been asked for, and one has been supplied. I ask the hon. Member to realise that we have had considerable doubts about whether helicopters would be effective in Kenya. I ask him to wait a little while to see what happens in this experiment.