Air Survey Work

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 1945.

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Photo of Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter , Hertford 12:00 am, 21st March 1945

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) what indication or undertaking that the R.A.F. would be prepared to undertake air survey work, either in this country or in the Colonial Empire, he has given; and whether the Director-General of Aviation was consulted in the matter and his approval given;

(2) to what extent the policy of his Department, expressed to the Davidson Committee in 1936, that the resources of civil air survey firms, if properly organised, should meet the demands of the Ordnance Survey Department and that the supply of air photographs, for what are primarily regarded as commercial purposes, falls naturally within the field of civil aviation, has been modified.

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

I recently caused a review to be undertaken of the way in which the air photography needed for surveys in this country and the Colonial Empire could best be provided after the war. The Royal Air Force has specialised equipment, and work of this kind would afford valuable training. It is, therefore, my view that the task should be allocated to the Royal Air Force. My Noble Friend the Minister for Civil Aviation is in complete accord.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

Does that mean that the right hon. Gentleman's policy is the elimination of the civil firms who were engaged on air survey before the war?

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

There were no civil firms engaged very much before the war. This is now going to be undertaken on a big scale by the Royal Air Force as part of its ordinary training duty, and the country will have the double advantage of the training which this will afford, and it will have the work admirably carried out.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into it again? He seems to be quite misinformed. Is it not a fact that much of the R.A.F. equipment for air survey arose from the stimulant given by these civil firms?

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

If the hon. Gentleman has any suggestions to make about this, I will gladly receive them from him, but I hope he will also consider the argument that I shall put forward.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter Rear-Admiral Sir Murray Sueter , Hertford

Will the right hon. Gentleman receive directors of the companies running this work before the war? They will assure him that they did considerable and very valuable work in this service.

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

I shall be very glad to receive the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he would like to speak to me about it.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and Eastern

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the purpose is to get this work done in the most efficient and economical way, and not spread it all over the place for the sake of private interests?

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

It is to get the work done in the most efficient and economical way and to give valuable training to the units of the R.A.F.