4 JULY 1931, Page 16


The Public Health Committee of the Middlesex County Council have been complaining of a "serious disturbance of work" caused at the Redhill Hospital by the R.A.F. prepara- tions at Hendon for their annual display. We fear that there still exists a section of public opinion which will be moved to sympathy, and perhaps to indignation, by the revelation that for the past three years patients have been unable to rest during the daytime in June owing to the fact that a large number of powerfully engined machines have been manoeuv- ring and firing machine-guns over the hospital, often at a very low altitude. It may even be argued by these sentimental reactionaries that it is of greater importance that life should not be made intolerable for a lot of sick people than that the R.A.F. display should attain its present high standard of spectacular bravura. But this is a poor sort of argument in these days. Is the public to be stinted of noise, or of speed, or of thrills—must the nation forgo its bread and circuses simply because hospital patients are so poorly acclimatized to modern civilization that they cannot sleep through the equivalent of an air raid ? A thousand times, no ! The preparatory manoeuvres complained of can be only slightly modified ; for flying practice, as the Air Ministry point out in their rich, sensuous prose, "ensures the safety of the personnel by obviating the impairment of the efficiency of partici- pating units."