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21 June, 1927.]


6196. I suppose the maintenance of those old vehicles would be fairly high, would it not, as compared with newer vehicles? Of course our war vehicles have all been radically reconditioned since then. What proportion of then. do actually date back to the war I could

not sav.

6197. Is it economical to keep old machines? Is it not better to scrap them and have new machines?-The whole question of our mechanical transport has been very thoroughly investigated. Whether the position at the present time is ideal I could not say, but it has been very thoroughly investigated over a period of years with the assistance and advice of the M.T. staff at the War Office, which is very experienced of course in mechanical transport; and to the best of my belief the present basis of maintenance and repair and purchase is economical. There is no doubt at all that immediately after the war there were very great masses of vehicles in very poor repair. That period has now passed; I can say that definitely.

6198. Have you found by experience that it would be more economical to reduce the variety of machines so as not to require so many spares?-But we have quite a limited number of machines.

6199. You mean quite a limited number of kinds of machines?-Yes, quite a limited number of types.

6200. So as to avoid duplication of spares?—Yes.

6201. Of course you must keep a certain number for competition, I quite agree. With regard to Subhead N of Vote 3, Purchase of Airships," and Subhead 0.1" Royal Airship Works, Cardington," I should like to be quite clear. I understand you contracted for one airship at a fixed figure?—Yes.

6202. You know what your liability is going to be when you receive the airship; you know the end of your liability as regards its cost?-Yes.

6203. That figure was made public, i think. I think it was stated how much you were going to spend?-Certainly. 6204. It was to be under £400,000 ?It was to be £300,000 plus a capital grant of £50,000.

6205. The machine which you are building yourselves, if I understand these accounts correctly, has cost up to now a considerably greater sum than that?No. The figure that I gave to the Estimates Committee, if I may be allowed


to refer to it, was, so far as one can judge, for the cost of R.101 at Cardington by the time it is completed £280,000 for labour and materials and £120,000 for design and on-cost, making £400,000 in all.

Colonel Sir Vivian Henderson.] Perhaps I might be allowed to say that the Estimates Committee have gone into this question of the relative cost of these two airships, and they propose to put in a paragraph on the subject in their next Report.

Major Salmon.] That deals really with the question quite satisfactorily up to a certain point. I do not know that I

ced press the question of the airship very much if you are going to deal with that in the Report of the Estimates Committee.

Colonel Sir Vivian Henderson.] We have not dealt with the question of the hydrogen-kerosene engine which was referred to by Sir Fredric Wise.

Major Salmon.

6206. I notice you are building mooring masts? Yes.

6207. Wen you gave your figure for the estimate of the airship it was essential to have a mooring mast. Was that included in the Estimate?-It was included in the overhead Estimate of £1,000,000, not in the figure I have jusi given of £400,000 for the airship.

6208. Was the shed included in that figure that you gave?-Certainly, everything was included. Of course, it has worked out in fact more expensive, but the Supplementary of 1924 adumbrated, because it had not to be voted then, an expenditure of £1,000,000 on the part of the Government-what might be called direct expenditure-and £350,000 on the contract airship, making £1,350,000 in all. The £1,000,000 included the whole organisation, the capital expenditure at Karachi and Ismailia and Cardington and Pulham.

6209. Not making a comparison between the cost of building the airship by the Government themselves and the cost of the airship which was contracted for, your Estimate presumably will be much exceeded?-Our original Estimate will be exceeded undoubtedly.

6210. There is one other point I should like to be clear about. Looking at the Appropriation Account and comparing it with the Estimates, Appendix No. 2,

21 June, 1927.]


page 116, I should like to be quite clear about this point. In the Appropriation Account do you charge to research work a certain amount of money and take it out of productive work, or vice versa do you take it out of research work?-You are speaking of airships?

6211. Yes. We classify the work by jobs as in any factory, and then we allocate the direct labour and materials and overheads. It is the ordinary factory procedure.

6212. But I want to know when it finishes being research work?—That, of course, is a matter of opinion-a matter of judgment. It is obviously arguable that some of the research work is directed to a specific and not a general purpose, and therefore should be charged to the specific rather than the general item. That is, as I say, a matter of judgment.


6213. But when you look at the total figure of the scientific research and technical development you see there is a particular amount spent. Is the whole of that, strictly speaking, research work? For instance, you have under Subhead A oll Vote 3, Aeroplanes, Seaplanes, Engines, and Spares," and a very large sum of money stands under that Subhead. After you have made these things do you send them out and charge them to a depot, crediting one account and debiting another account?—No. None of these aeroplanes or engines would, except in quite exceptional circumstances, be transferred to what one might call a Production or Supply Vote. Some of them might be lent from the Supply Vote to research purposes and returned.

6214. They would be kept entirely separate? They are kept separate substantially.

Sir Fredric Wise.

6215. Referring to Subhead A, do you buy any engines from abroad?—No, I do not think any engines are being bought abroad. I think probably what the Honourable Member is referring to is the American engine for the Fairey Fox which was built in this country.

6216. None of this amount under Subhead A is for engines bought abroad?No, I think not.*

6217. Do you have armoured cars?-Yes.

#66 The expenditure on the engines for the Fairey Fox, which were bought through the British aircraft constructor, fell in the year 1926.-W. F. N."


6218. Where do they come in this Vote? They come under Subhead D, "Warlike Stores," I believe.

6219. Should they not be a separate item? They are hardly stores, are they? -The whole heading of Vote 3 is " Technical and Warlike Stores." "Stores " is a very general term.

6220. I would not look for them under Subhead D, should I? Under Subhead D I see you include photographic equipment? (Mr. Fass.) The explanation is, I expect, that they have not bought any for a long time. (Sir Walter Nicholson.) I do not think we are buying any at the present moment, but if the Committee wishes to know with certainty which Subhead armoured cars if bought would be charged to, I am afraid I must consult my experts.

6221. It is so hard to know about these matters. You tell me they come under Subhead D?-That is the information I have received, but I am in doubt about it.

6222. It is only through my having the Estimates that I can be almost certain that it is not under Subhead D. If the evidence is wrong, surely I have a right to complain? Well, I admit at once that I ought to know as Accounting Officer of the Air Ministry without hesitation to which Subhead I should charge it, but I am afraid I do not know.

6223. I do not mind you not knowing, but you tell me it is under Subhead D?I did not tell you that out of my own inner consciousness. Perhaps you will allow me to report on that later.*

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21 June, 1927.]


special to the Air Force. The Army agree that Crossleys and Leylands shall be special Air Force types, and so on. We, on our part, agree that other types shall be Army types.


Mr. Cyril Lloyd.


6227. One question about Subhead A., Vote 3. I do not quite understand the remark in the note about clearing up as many maturing liabilities possible." Does that mean that the Ministry had a good many unfavourable contracts for out-of-date planes? No. All it means to say in polite terms is that we were trying at the end of the year to spend our Vote. We hustled at the end of the year; that is all it means.

6228. It does not refer to inefficient contracts?-It simply means that on perfectly valid bills we accelerated the pay

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the 29th, 30th and 31st March rather than on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd April.

6231. It does not amount to more than that? That is all it means.

6232. It should relieve the accounts for the following year to that extent?Certainly.

6233. In point of fact, did it do so? -Yes, it did.

6234. You were under-spent in the following year to the same extent?-A sound bill has to be paid whether it is met on the 31st March or the 1st April.

6235. It does not mean that you called for much more equipment in the following year? Oh, no, I can assure the honourable Member on that point. It is purely an accounting transaction.

Sir Malcolm Macnaghten.

6236. Why does the Air Ministry pay a bill before it becomes due?-Not before it becomes due. It becomes due as soon as the material is delivered and inspected and passed under the contract. Then it is a question of ordinary office procedure whether you pay absolutely the same afternoon, or whether you let it go through the machinery and pay in three or four days' time.

6237. This is really only a matter of two or three days? There is just a few days in it, that is all.



Mr. Briggs.



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6239. On page 44 it says that there has been no expenditure?-Page 44 has nothing to do with land.

6240. Then we come to page 58 for the land? We come to page 58 for the land. The land is bought, but the buildings were not erected because of the deceleration of the expansion.

6241. Was not there an aerodrome there before? Was not that aerodrome once the property of the Government?-1 cannot answer that from memory.

6242. Ferhaps it will shorten the proceedings now if I put three specific questions and Sir Walter might send in a paper on the matter?-Certainly.

21 June, 1927.]


6243. With regard to Boscombe Aerodrome I would like to know if the property or the land has been the property of the Government. If so, did

they dispose of it; and if they disposed of it, at what price? Are they now repurchasing it, and has the seller any relationship with the old purchaser of the property? I will endeavour to put in a paper on that.

6244. I should be glad if you would.*

Sir Fredric Wise.

6245. With regard to Malta, Sir Walter, that was a civil station, was it not? Well, I should rather describe the Malta Station as having a dual capacity. There were charges in relation to it that were charged to the Civil Aviation Vote in the first instance. I refer to Hal Far. Calafrana, of course, has always been Service.

6246. It is now half?-No, it is now primarily Service.

6247. I find Malta mentioned at page 50, and then I find Malta again on page 54 where there is an item "Improvements to road between Calafrana and Hal Far." It is so hard to find out the

actual expenditure at Malta. I suppose you could not tell me the total expenditure at Malta?-The total expenditure under Vote 4 at Malta in year 1925-26 is what you want. I could put in a note on that if desired.



6248. Apparently what Sir Fredric Wise means is the grouping of the items under these different heads?-But the number given to Item 127 is merely The a piece of accounting. numbers of these items have to correspond to the numbers in the Estimates. These numbers at the end were added, I think I am right in saying, with Treasury approval in the course of a year. (Mr. Watson) Yes.

Sir Fredric Wise.] But it is SO difficult to know the total expenditure.

Chairman.] Sir Fredric, do you desire the total expenditure within the year? That is your immediate purpose, is it, under the different heads as set forth in these papers?

Sir Fredric Wise.] Yes, I find the same difficulty also with regard to Egypt.

* See Appendix 52.



6249. I think it would be difficult for the Air Ministry to give that.-(Sir Walter Nicholson.) Not at all.*

Major Salmon.

6250. Would it be possible to simplify the presentation of these accounts so that one would not have to look under different heads but could have all the expenditure for the current year at Malta put together? Well, if the account is presented in as much detail as this account is, I am afraid however it is rearranged it will present some complexity. I personally should be very pleased if the form of account could be somewhat simplified, and I believe in fact that the Treasury Officers of Accounts have under consideration some question of simplifying possibly the form of the Service Accounts. (Mr. Watson) Thit was as regards the general form and not merely as regards this statement, but, of course, if the Committee wish it, we would give some attention to this. I think it is, as Sir Walter says, that the items here are the larger items in the Estimates, and they follow the Estimates form, so that if you want to compare them at any time with the Estimates this is the most suitable form. If, on the other hand, you want a geographical disposition, then you would be in difficulty owing to these items added during the year.

Sir Fredric Wise.


6251. You have Malta ir thee if not four places in this one Vote.- (Mr. Fass.) The Estimate shows Malta altogether under one group.

6252. Take the Estimates. You have Malta, and then you have Egypt and Malta generally. It is very hard to find out the actual cost?-(Mr. Watson.) We will look into it if it is the wish of the Committee.

Chairman.] It is similar to the point the Committee has already reserved for consideration of some kind of not giving the complete picture, so to speak. We must make up our minds about that at the end of the Session.

Major Salmon.

6253. What was the cost of equipping and maintaining accommodation for the

* See Appendix 53.

21 June, 1927.]

public at Hendon


Aerodrome?-(Sir Walter Nicholson.) You mean at the display?

6254. Yes. That was done by nonpublic funds.

6255. On what occasion is it used? Is it just for the display once a year, or what?--It is used practically entirely for the display.

6256. I understood you to say that the Malta Aerodrome is now transferred from the Civil and charged definitely to the Military Vote?-No. In reply to Sir Fredric Wise I said that to the best of my recollection there was some charge in respect of Hal Far that was originally charged to the Civil Aviation Votesome charge for levelling.

6257. It is only a small item, but the main sum is charged to the Military Vote? The expenditure we are now incurring at Hal Far is being charged to the Military Vote.

(253. May I put it in another way. Under what Vote is it charged?-The cash expenditure in the the current year and recent years is charged to the Military Vote.

6259. What safeguard has the House against original charges for civil purposes being subsequently transferred to military purposes? It is simply transferred in an accounting sense. In either case, they are under the control of the Air Council. The Air Council could constitutionally, I presume, convert Croydon, which is the civil air port of London, into an Air Force station; but obviously it could not do so in fact without the knowledge and sanction of Parliament.

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or other it would come under the cognisance of the Comptroller and Auditor General who would then undoubtedly consider it his duty to call attention to it.

Mr. Cyril Lloyd.

6262. May I ask whether under Subhead A you have a complete Architect's Department under the Air Ministry. that is to say, completely responsible for the design and execution of your own buildings?--Yes. But I might add that in the case of buildings of special architectural pretensions, we have contemplated going outside the Air Ministry staff.

6263. If you went outside, would it be to the Office of Works?—Yes.

6264. At the present time you have no contract with the Office of Works on the point of design or expense?-Not on the point of design. There are certain agency works which are from time to time carried out for us by the Office of Works, though not on a large scale.

6265. I am speaking now more of the first cost of new buildings of the type say of a new aerodrome?-The designs are got out by our own staff.

6266. Is the expense of them criticised by anybody exterior to the Ministry?We have to submit the expenditure to the Treasury, and, of course, our Finance Department criticise it. And on occasion, of course, for adequate reason the matter may be discussed in the Works Coordinating Committee on which the Office of Works and the three Service Departments are the represented; but in ordinary way if it is clear that it is a Works service of the Air Ministry without dispute, that would not occur.


6267. Then in general the Ministry is a law unto itself as to the scale and design and permanence and expense of buildings? Well, I think Mr. Fass would demur to the statement that we are a law unto ourselves on that subject. The Honourable Member is surely aware that capital works services are quite properly regarded with a singularly jealous eye by the Treasury, and a very careful control is exercised by the Treasury over the works expenditure of all departments, and further, of course, it is subject to special constitutional restrictions as to the voting of these services by Parliament.

6268. I do not want to take a specific case, but will you take a supposed case

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