§ Captain Kerby
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1) if he will give consideration to reconstituting the anti-submarine squadrons of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Air Branch; and explore means of reorganising them as an active aerial force so that their skill and enthusiasm are not lost to the nation;
(2) if he is aware that there is disquiet over the decision to disband the Air Branch of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve which seriously impairs the anti-submarine defence of this country; that the skill of the air crews in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve anti-submarine squadrons is equal to that of regular Royal Naval squadrons; that they are able to master modern aircraft during week-end training; that their loss to national defence will be incommensurate with a maximum saving of £2,500,000 a year; and if he will forthwith revoke the decision.
§ Mr. Soames
My right hon. and noble Friend is aware that there is disappointment about the decision to disband the Air Branch of the Royal Naval Volunteer168W Reserve. The Air Branch had been built up to become a fully competent part of our naval air power, and we acknowledge the enthusiastic and unreserved support which has been given to it by all volunteer officers and ratings. But the decision to disband the Branch, which the Admiralty reached with extreme reluctance, was only taken in the interest of the replacement and re-equipment of the Fleet as a whole within the limited Navy Votes. My right hon. and noble Friend regrets that he is unable to reconsider this decision.