§ Mr. S. Shephard
asked the Undersecretary of State for Air how many non-British aircraft are now in use in R.A.F. Transport Command; and how many 885W British Halifaxes and Lancasters are at present in storage in this country and not in use.
§ Mr. Strachey
Just over 1,000 non-British aircraft are now in use in Transport Command. It would be contrary to the present policy to publish figures for our heavy bomber reserves. The operational bombers now in storage will, of course, go to squadrons in due course. Some bombers have been converted to meet the urgent needs of the trooping programme, but they are not really suitable for transport use because they have little room in the fuselage for anything but a bomb load, which takes up much less space than passengers or freight.
§ Sir R. Glyn
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many persons have been killed and injured, respectively, whilst flying as passengers or crew of aircraft of the R.A.F. Transport Command during the five weeks ended Sunday, 2nd December; what types of machines have been involved; and what have been the findings of the courts of inquiry in each case of accident.
§ Mr. Strachey
The provisional figures for passenger-carrying flights in Transport Command during this period are the same as those shown for the month of November in the table accompanying my answer of 12th December to the hon. and gallant Member for South Blackpool (Wing-Commander R. Robinson). The types of aircraft involved in these accidents were as follows: Dakota, Liberator and Stirling. As I stated in my reply to the hon. Member's Question of 31st October, I am afraid that I cannot give the information asked for in the last part of the Question as it would be contrary to the public interest to disclose the findings of courts of inquiry, which are privileged. The foreknowledge that they might be published would impose a restraint upon both court and witnesses, whereas it is essential that all concerned should speak freely, and, if need be, criticise fearlessly, without regard to rank or person.