14 OCTOBER 1938, Page 2

Air Defence At Cambridge last week Sir Kingsley Wood threw

a little light on the profound mystery which surrounds the progress of this country's air defences. It must be confessed that, though the information he gave was welcome, it revealed few signs of that intense activity which was expected after Sir Kingsley Wood's transference to the Air Ministry. What sir Kingsley announced was the construction of one, and the extension of another, aeroplane factory, at a cost of Lizoo,000. The list of applicants for the Civil Air Guard, having exceeded 30,000, has been closed. The balloon barrage scheme is to be applied to several large provincial towns. This list of achievements is not impressive to anyone who is aware of how much this country's air defence lags behind that of its greatest competitor ; worse still, the satisfaction with which the Air Minister announced them arouses a sense that he himself hardly realises how great the disparity is. Public opinion in regard to air defence has by now reached a curious stage. The country itself is profoundly alarmed at an inferiority in the air which the Government both conceals and sometimes uses as a threat; only Ministers on public platforms seem satisfied.