HC Deb 20 May 1919 vol 116 c220W

asked the Undersecretary of State to the Air Ministry whether his attention has been drawn to the report of the inquest on Flight-Sergeant C. W. Wright, Royal Air Force, on Thursday, 8th May, 1919, and to the verdict of the jury that his death was due to the collapse of his aeroplane owing to the use of wood unfit for use in aeroplane construction, and that the employment of such wood was due to the criminal negligence of some person or official at present screened by the Department, and whether he is prepared to disclose the names of the person or persons responsible for passing the aeroplane as fit for use?

Major-General SEELY

My attention has been drawn to the verdict given by the jury in the sad case referred to by my hon. Friend, and I have given the most careful consideration to it. The expert advisers of the Air Ministry on accidents have made the fullest inquiry into the cause of the accident, but it has not been possible to decide with certainty on the cause of the breaking of the wing. They do not incline to the view that the cause of the accident was defective wood, but even assuming that that was the case one cannot be certain that inspection will disclose interior defects in a spar. The question of the right amount of dryness of wood is a highly technical one, on which experts differ, our own standard of humidity being nearly double that specified in America. With regard to the last part of the question, I have placed all papers and information in our possession, at the disposal of Sir Charles athews, Director of Prosecution, for his consideration.