No. 267 NAI DFA 2006/39

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 53) (Secret) (Copy)

London, 19 August 1940

Sir Arthur Street, Permanent Secretary of the Air Ministry, lunched with me a few days ago when I asked him about the recent big raids of German aeroplanes over England.

He said every Air Ministry communiqué went out over his signature and their reports of their own and German air losses could be relied on absolutely. Their experts summarised the reports for the War Cabinet under three headings:-

1. Losses proved beyond doubt.

2. Probable losses but not of unassailable proof.

3. Damaged planes.

They reported only the first category. The second, if included, would often send up the figures by fifty per cent. For that reason they think their reports of German losses are considerably understated. The Prime Minister was most emphatic in his direction that the completest accuracy should be observed in the reports whether or not they were favourable to the British. He would be glad at any time to investigate any instance I could give him of seeming inaccuracy in any of these reports.

The loss of a plane was of course serious enough, and the loss of a plane and a pilot was far more serious. Until the recent big fights the British pilots saved from destroyed aeroplanes were about two in every ten. During this week when there had been bigger raids than ever the losses of their pilots were only about half what they had been before. So far, Sir Arthur Street said, the German tactics in the air had worked out precisely as the Air Ministry's experts had predicted – but he felt sure that this war needed more than ever new strategy, new inventions, and new weapons. Up to now the Germans in their recent fights in England had not shown anything with which the British were not equal to cope.

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