Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Plus ça change

Rummaging through the online version of Hansard looking at the questions asked by George Lansbury, like one does and I came across this little gem:

ROYAL AIR FORCE (BOMBING ATTACKS).
HC Deb 12 April 1923 vol 162 cc1300-1 1300

§ 60. Mr. LANSBURY

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many punitive expeditions have been undertaken by the Air Force during the year ending 28th March against tribesmen in India and Arabs and other nationals in Iraq and countries adjacent: how many casualties have been suffered by our airmen; how many persons of other nationalities have been killed or wounded; what damage has been inflicted on villages or towns; and will he state what bombs were used?

§ The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Samuel Hoare)

During the year ending 28th March last, bombing attacks were carried out in connection with the various military operations in Waziristan, but there were no independent punitive expeditions carried out by the Royal Air Force against tribes on the Indian frontier. In Iraq and Southern Kurdistan, where no military operations comparable with those, undertaken in Waziristan have been carried out, there have been nine punitive air expeditions. The casualties to personnel of the Royal Air Force in these operations were in India, 3 officers and 1 airman killed, 2 officers and 1 airman injured; in Iraq, 3 officers killed and 1 injured. It is not possible to give particulars of the casualties sustained by the tribes against whom the operations were directed or of the extent of the material damage inflicted; it seems certain, however, that the use of air action in place of ground operations has resulted in a 1301 decrease in the loss of life incurred. The bombs used have been 230 lbs., 112 lbs., 20 lbs. and incendiary bombs.

I would remind the hon. Member that upon the North-West frontier air operations form part of the general military operations against tribes with which the Government of India have been in a state of war, whereas in the case of Iraq punitive air expeditions are only undertaken at the request of the civil authorities in cases where ground expeditions would otherwise have been necessary.

§ Mr. LANSBURY

May I ask whether the people who are bombed are able to retaliate? [HON. MEMBERS "Oh!"] I will put the question in another way— whether the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues do not think that the time has arrived to stop this Hunnish and barbarous method of warfare against unarmed people?

© Parliamentary copyright

Least we've stopped bombing India. Progress of sorts.