25 APRIL 1941, Page 5


(AN Sunday morning, when Londoners, still a little staggered t) (for they cultivate courage, not bravado) by the Blitz ot the previous Wednesday, were hearing of another heavy attack on the capital a few hours earlier, the-B.B.C. announcer took occa- sion to sound a paean on our night-fighters, mentioning the number of victories they had achieved in the past few weeks and in one of those weeks in particular, and singling out for com-• mendation one or two squadrons and one or two individual pilots whose success had been outstanding. No praise, of course, could be too high for any department of the Air Force or the men serving in it. Our debt to them grows greater every day. But the public are not fools, and once they get the idea that something is being put across them that the facts do not warrant the effect on morale will be far %Oorse than anything the Germans threaten. They read the papers, and they know well that, as a leading Air Correspondent in a leading newspaper put it that very Sunday, the night-bombers that. have been brought down in recent weeks represent no more than perhaps i or i per cent. of the total force engaged. From thepoint of view of effective defence that is not success ; it-is failure. There was no need to dwell on that at all. But to draw deliberate attention to it and represent it as success is folly little short of crime. False optimism invariably brings its own-retribution. Far better admit frankly that we have not begun yet to get satisfactory results against the night-bomber. Neither, fortunately„ have the Germans. Both sides can night-bomb with.relative impunity. I suppose the Air Ministry was responsible for Sunday's ineptitude.