HC Deb 02 December 1959 vol 614 cc1151-2
1. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he will make a statement about the commissioning of H.M.S. "Bulwark" as a commando carrier; and when a second aircraft carrier will be allocated for a similar rôle.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. C Ian Orr-Ewing)

H.M.S. "Bulwark" will commission on 19th January, 1960. She should be worked up and fully operational in her new role of commando carrier in the late spring. I am confident that her presence in the Fleet will give a welcome increase to the mobility of our defence forces.

The provision of a second commando carrier is under consideration, but a final decision has not yet been taken.

Mr. Wall

Would not my hon. Friend agree that one of the light fleet carriers now on the disposal list could be allocated for this rôle? Would he also undertake to look into the question of support for the commando carrier, either by the provision of another carrier with strike aircraft or by the provision of an assault ship carrying armour?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

In answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I would say that our plans have allowed for one of our ships to be adapted for the second commando carrier. I would like to have notice of the second part. It is a far more complicated and intricate matter.