HC Deb 26 January 1955 vol 536 cc144-5
37. Mr. Dodds

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air if he will make a statement giving details of the Bristol Sycamore helicopter in Kenya.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. George Ward)

The Bristol Sycamore helicopter in Kenya has successfully completed its trials, and has been available to the Security Forces since early December for evacuating casualties from sites up to the edge of the forest—that is to say, at heights varying from 6,000 feet to 8,500 feet.

Up to 8th January only one call had been made upon it by the Security Forces, when a casualty was successfully picked up from Nyeri.

Mr. Dodds

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that statement, but does he appreciate that the helicopter is a great morale booster of the Service man, and will he and his Department try to capture some of the enthusiasm of the Navy for the use of helicopters in this modern age?

Mr. Ward

I think we already have that enthusiasm.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Arising out of that reply, may I ask my hon. Friend how many more of these helicopters he proposes to supply for this theatre?

Mr. Ward

At the present time there is not enough work for more than one, but should that position change, of course we would always consider any requests from the Security Forces.

Mr. Dodds

But does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that in Korea the Americans were using one helicopter instead of 20 trucks? Why cannot we use them more instead of road transport?

Mr. Ward

I am not sure what is the difference in height above sea level between the two places, but the hon. Gentleman will realise the difficulty of using helicopters at all in places which are as high above sea level as Kenya.