asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the total personnel of the Royal Air Service, male and female, respectively; how many of these are considered to be available to act as pilots and observers in the air, respectively, when required for active service, and not including personnel under training; and how many of these latter are allocated for service with the Royal Navy?
According to the latest returns available, the answer to the first question is 28,906 and 46 respectively, the latter figure representing the personnel of the Royal Air Force Nursing Service; to the second, 1,714 fully trained pilots and 109 observers, excluding those under flying training. It would be difficult to assess the proportion of this number of pilots and observers who can be said to be employed on naval duties, but there are 373 first line aeroplanes in service units without counting training or reserves, and these are manned by 461 pilots and 92 observers, of which 84 pilots and 35 observers work with the Navy, namely, about 20 per cent. Of the remaining 1,253 pilots, the proportion employed on work with the Navy is probably about the same.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it very anomalous that, with a very big Navy and a comparatively small Army, only 20 per cent. of the available pilots are attached to the Senior Service?