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Royal Air Force

Volume 245: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1930

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will say whether there is any regulation, and, if so, its terms, which lays down the procedure to be adopted in the case of men found to be unsuitable or incompetent after entering the service; and whether it applies to mechanics and other engineering units?

I have been asked to reply. Yes, Sir. The regulation in question is paragraph 504 of the King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions for the Royal Air Force. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the paragraph in question, and he will see that it lays down the procedure to be followed in the eases which he has in mind. It applies to airmen of all trade classifications.

Airship R101 (Crew's Dependants)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will consider making a deduction in the rents of the Ministry's houses at Cardington for the dependants of those lost in the disaster to the R101?

I have been asked to reply. Less than one-third of the dependants reside in Air Ministry houses. My noble Friend regrets, therefore, that he cannot agree to the adoption of the hon. Member's suggestion, the effect of which would he to pay compensation on a more liberal scale for some dependants than for others.

May I ask that this matter he reconsidered in view of the fact that many of these houses are let at 15s. a week rent, that there is a shortage of houses in the district, and that the pensions are only 20s. to 30s. in many cases?

I can communicate that request to my right hon. Friend, but he has already examined the whole situation from every point of view.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether Mr. Rudd, the father and dependant of E. G. Rudd, rigger, who lost his life in the R101, has been discharged from the airship works at Cardington; and why he was among the first to receive notice of discharge?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, and the last part does not, therefore, arise.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why the pensions granted to the dependants of those who were lost in R101 are not yet being paid; whether he is aware that the Air Ministry is demanding payment of current rents, from those dependants who are living in houses belonging to the Air Ministry; and will he expedite the payment of the pensions and ensure that the rents are not demanded until the pensions are actually being paid?

The pensions granted to the dependants of those who were lost in the R101 cannot be paid until certain necessary formalities have been completed, but such of the dependants as were in immediate need of money have been granted advances to enable them to meet their needs, including accruing rent. It has been made clear to all the widows that, if they so desire, advances of pension up to the limit of their entitlement will be issued to them pending the completion of the formalities.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if the pensions of those who lost their lives on the R101 are calculated on the scale of pensions granted to the relatives of men in the Navy and Army killed in action or on a special scale?

The relatives of Royal Air Force personnel who lost their lives on the R101 have been granted pensions calculated on a scale, applicable to the case of death in action, which is common to the Navy, Army and Air Force. With regard to grants to the relatives of the civilians who lost their lives in the disaster, T would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) 6th November; but the brief answer is that they are likewise on the most beneficial scale permissible under the standing authorities.

Is my hon. Friend aware that a number of anomalies and injustices exist in regard to these pensions; and will he ask the Secretary of State for Air to inquire into the matter himself as soon as possible?

Personnel And Cost


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will give particulars as to the number of the personnel of the Royal Air Force for the years 1926–27, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, and 1930–31, respectively, and the annual cost. of the service for the same periods?

The numbers of personnel in the Royal Air Force paid for out of Air Votes are set out in a table which, with my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I am not sure what my hon. Friend means by the annual cost of the service. If he will be so good as to communicate with the Under-Secretary of State for Air, he will endeavour to supply the figures required.

Following is the trade:

Number of Personnel (exclusive of those serving in India).

* Average for the year.

† Estimated maximum allowed to be borne at any period of the year.
‡ On 29th January, 1930, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Colchester, a figure of 30,670 was given as the number of the Royal Air Force in July, 1929. This figure, however, included the R.A.F. in India.



asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if parachutes are now issued as standard equipment to the crews of sea-planes, flying-boats,. and fleet air-arm land aircraft?

Parachutes have now either been issued, or are on order, for all sea-going aircraft, except for one type which is obsolescent.