Access to Aerodromes (Incidents).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force. – in the House of Commons on 21st January 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can now give any information about the two German prisoners-of-war who posed as Dutchmen and were fitted with flying-suits, and got away in a two-seater Miles Magister without an alarm being given?

Photo of Sir Norman Hulbert Sir Norman Hulbert , Stockport

asked the Secretary of State for Air the result of the court of inquiry into the theft of the Magister aircraft by two escaped German prisoners last month; and what disciplinary action has been taken against those responsible?

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One of these was escapees was Haupt Harry Wappler who was brought down at Newport on 13th SEPT 1940 by a ballon from 966 squadron, he...

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Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

asked the Secretary of State for Air on what date the two escaping Nazi prisoners obtained access to a Royal Air Force aircraft; on what date the inquiry into this episode began; on what date he received the report; and what are its findings?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

I would refer hon. Members to the answer which was given yesterday to the Question on this subject by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Under-Secretary of State.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can give any information in connection with four schoolboys who entered a North-Western airfield, on Sunday, 4th January, and interfered with six aeroplanes; whether it is the same aerodrome from which escaped German prisoners stole an aeroplane some weeks ago; and what action he intends taking about the matter?

Photo of Mr Charles Ammon Mr Charles Ammon , Camberwell North

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the aerodrome from which two boys recently stole parts of the machinery from aircraft, is the same as that from which two German prisoners recently took a machine in an attempt to escape; and what is the reason for such apparent carelessness in safeguarding Royal Air Force machines?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

I would refer hon. Members to the statement on this matter which my right hon. and gallant Friend the Under-Secretary of State made yesterday in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Rusholme (Mr. Radford).

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

As that Question was not answered orally will the right hon. Gentleman give us the reply now?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

It appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-day.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

But as it was not answered orally will not the right hon. Gentleman tell us what it was? Have we not the right to ask?

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

The right hon. Gentleman said that this Question was answered yesterday. I was here the whole time and I never heard it answered.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Were these machines in fact Air Force machines or were they the property of the Flying School?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

They were Royal Air Force aircraft on loan to the Flying School.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Will the right hon. Gentleman at least tell the House whether it is the view of the Air Ministry that it is not possible to prevent what have been described as snoopers and school boys from entering these aerodromes? If he cannot prevent snoopers and school boys from doing so how is it possible to prevent other people from doing so?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

This took place the day before the German prisoners escaped. These boys were, in fact, observed, but so large was the aerodrome that they were able to do a certain amount of damage before being approached. They then got away, but were apprehended afterwards. Some of our bomber aerodromes are twice the size of Hyde Park, and it is impossible to prevent an occasional snooper from getting into so large an area. But, as regards sabotage, there has not been a single case since the war began. Sabotage can be done on a dangerous scale only by a considerable organisation, and we have our own methods of preventing it.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

I beg to give notice that, having regard to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise this matter, subject to my being called upon by Mr. Speaker, in the forthcoming Debate on the defence of aerodromes.

Photo of Mr Charles Ammon Mr Charles Ammon , Camberwell North

I hope that that notice will not prejudice Question 23, which has not yet been reached.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The two Questions are being answered together.