HC Deb 01 July 1959 vol 608 cc463-4
47. Mr. Turton

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that during the weekend of 19th–21st June five children were injured by a live mortar bomb which they found in a moorland stream near Locksay Bridge, Hutton le Hole; whether he will investigate the causes of this incident; and what steps he is taking to secure that the north Yorkshire moors are cleared of such missiles.

Mr. Neave

The accident occurred in the old training area on Spaunton Moor, when a child appears to have found an unexploded bomb and to have thrown it into a stream, where it hit a rock. The area had been searched for explosives by a Royal Air Force bomb disposal unit eight years ago, and the missiles which were found were then removed. We have within the last few days carried out a further search in the area of the accident. No further dangerous objects were found.

Perhaps I may take this opportunity to express my sympathy with the children who were injured, and with their parents.

Mr. Turton

May I ask whether my hon. Friend is aware of the great concern that is felt in this well-known holiday resort about this most unfortunate accident; that some years ago an adjoining piece of moor was set on fire and a great number of these bombs were set off and exploded, and that, on the rest of the moor, shepherds are continually finding unexploded shells? In view of these facts, will my hon. Friend now order a more searching investigation to see that no bombs are left?

Mr. Neave

I am certainly very interested in what my right hon. Friend says. If he will send me full details of what has been found, I will look into the matter again and consider the position in the future. I ought to say that the search lasted a full twelve months and covered over 6,000 acres.

Mr. Popplewell

In how many acres of these north Yorkshire moors are there still dangerous unexploded bombs? We know that it is a fairly large acreage. Is the hon. Gentleman able to say?

Mr. Neave

I can only say that we have searched 6,000 acres. What my right hon. Friend has said about these weapons being found on other occasions is very important and, therefore, I ought to look at the matter further.

Back to