HC Deb 09 July 1958 vol 591 cc387-8
37. Mr. Hayman

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the further modernisation of H.M.S. "Ark Royal" will include the provision of lifts.

Mr. R. Allan

It is intended that "Ark Royal" should be taken in hand in September for a special refit. This is not a complete modernisation. During this refit modifications will be made to the forward and after aircraft lifts and to one of the bomb lifts. No new lifts are being installed.

Mr. Hayman

May I ask the hon. Member to consider whether he or the First Lord of the Admiralty should not consult the American naval authorities on the subject? I am informed that the American aircraft carriers have passenger lifts. Surely in these days the British aircraft carrier ought not to be behind any carrier.

Mr. Allan

I did not realise that the hon. Member was referring to passenger lifts or crew lifts. Her Majesty's ships are supposed to be manned by young and ablebodied seamen.

Mr. C. R. Hobson

It is a new ship.

Mr. Allan

The "Ark Royal" is not a new ship. I have seen reports giving rather damaging comparisons between United States carriers and our own, particularly about replenishment, but we are developing new replenishment techniques, and I recently attended an exercise where the time was reduced by half. I am also told that an aircraft carrier recently embarked at sea in a few hours stores which it would have taken two days to embark if she had been alongside. I am sure that our American allies would be the first to admit that most of the important recent operational developments in carriers have been British inventions.

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