I deeply regret to have to inform the House that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hythe (Commander Brabner), Joint Under-Secretary of State for Air, who was travelling by air to Canada, is reported missing, together with the following senior Air Ministry officials and public servants:
I am sure the House will feel deeply the loss of these distinguished officers and in particular, so far as the House of Commons is concerned, the cutting short of the bright career which was opening before the hon. and gallant Member for Hythe. He had gained the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Service Cross in this war as a Member of the House of Commons, a distinction which I think is unique. Now his abilities, and the hopes that we had, have been cut short. His wife and the other relatives have been informed, and I am sure the House will wish me to express our deep sympathy with them in their great anxiety.
Will my right hon. Friend give favourable consideration to setting aside a day in the future, after Easter, for a discussion of this and other calamities that have happened?
We had a Debate the other day on the Adjournment on this subject, and I should hesitate to mortgage our time any further in the future. The crew were specially picked. The machine was the "Commando," the very one in which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I myself have made so many journeys. I cannot think anything short of the most intense care and effort have been taken, but such journeys cannot be wholly free from an element of danger.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has not been any Debate on this subject in the House since the last report upon the recent accident to two hon. Members, and that there is considerable perturbation in the minds of hon. Members about this? Hon. Members do not want any particular consideration, but at least they do want some assurance that these matters are receiving full consideration.
In view of the right hon. Gentleman's last assurance and the fact that we have lost some Members of the House in these tragic circumstances, would it not be possible to associate a committee of this House with the inquiries that are to take place into this accident and to have some investigation other than a departmental one into the causes of the-se recurring accidents?