39 and 40.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1) how many fully qualified pilots and air observers are serving on the naval staff of the Imperial Defence College and the Joint Services Staff College; and how many of these officers have had war flying experience;(2) how many fully qualified pilots and air observers are serving on the staffs of the Royal Naval Colleges, Greenwich and Dartmouth; and how many have had war flying experience.
One observer is serving on the staff of the Joint Services College, but there are no pilots or observers on the staff of the Imperial Defence College. One pilot and two observers are serving on the staff of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and there is one pilot on the staff of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. The five officers holding the appointments have war flying experience.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I put down these two Questions precisely in this form a year ago, at which time he expressed some concern at the small number of these officers, since when the numbers have been reduced by one?
No, Sir, the total number is the same as last year. However, we are concerned with the small numbers, the trouble being that during the war few officers specialised in naval aviation, and of those few quite a large percentage were killed.
Is it not infinitely more important that those who are supervising training should take priority over those actually carrying out flying duties?
What steps are being taken to improve this most unsatisfactory position?
The only step that we can take is to see that we get more naval officers specialising in naval aviation, and we are taking steps to that end as rapidly as we can.
What does the hon. Gentleman mean when he says that only a few naval officers specialised in air operations during the war? Surely very large numbers specialised?
No, relatively few, Sir.