Raf Air-Sea Rescue Service - Tuesday 13 May 1969 - Hansard - UK Parliament THE EARL OF KINNOULL rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering reviewing the Air-Sea Rescue Service at present provided by the Royal Air Force. The noble Earl said: My Lords, the hour is rather late and Members have somewhat emigrated from the Chamber. Nevertheless, I hope that the House will grant me a few minutes on this Question. The Question I wish to put before the House to-night is on the Air-Sea Rescue Service provided by the Royal Air Force around our shores. Principally, I have two main objectives in asking the Question. The first is to seek further information on this splendid service—a service that many of us may one day be thankful to benefit from—and the second is to ask Her Majesty's Government why it is that this service is still officially restricted to military purposes only when, in practice, for the past ten years over 85 per cent, of its work has been involved in the rescuing of civilians. VISCOUNT DAVENTRY My Lords, I rise rather reluctantly, because I am old, but I was the person who first started the Air-Sea Rescue Service It was called by the Air Force, "Sea Rescue". I pointed out to them that that meant nothing to anybody, and we started the Air-Sea Rescue Service in 1940. Then the argument and difficulty concerned the question of who was to be in charge of it. Eventually, because there was a war on, the areas of the sea were put in charge of naval officers who were in charge of that particular part of the sea. At that time, there were no helicopters. Now, my Lords, we have to start practically a new service altogether. I do not think that the Royal Air Force should be in charge of it. I do not think that the Navy can be in charge. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, will give us some indication of how this service is to be run. To put it on record, I must say that it is true that in the first two years of the war, when there was the argument about who did most, the Lifeboat Service picked up far more Battle of Britain pilots than anybody else: it was a most remarkable record. Anyhow, my Lords, I hope that the noble Lord will tell us how this particular service is to be organised and run, and by whom.