HC Deb 09 April 1957 vol 568 cc939-40
3. Mr. Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for War whether it is on his authority that the Monmouthshire Hounds are allowed to meet on the lawn, outside the Officers' Mess, at the Court-y-Gollen Camp, Crickhowell; and whether he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Hare)

The Commanding officer issued this invitation. It is a long-standing custom for hospitality to be offered by units to local hunts. My authority was not required.

Mr. Watkins

Is it a matter of local discretion to invite these people? Will the Minister now invite officers to have greater concern for the discipline of the camp, if he has not read in the local Press what is happening there?

Mr. Hare

I do not understand that supplementary question. I see no objection to the commanding officer using his discretion.

4. Mr. Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Service men and officers were detailed off for duty at the meet of the Monmouthshire Hounds at Court-y-Gollen Camp, Crickhowell, on 2nd March last; how many horses are kept by his Department, or permitted by his Department to be kept privately, at the camp; and how many servicemen are employed to look after them either inside or outside the camp.

Mr. John Hare

Three soldiers, who are mess waiters, spent about an hour serving refreshments and four soldiers controlled the traffic. Four horses are kept in a privately-owned hut at the camp. They are looked after by three soldiers who volunteered for the job.

Hon. Members


Mr. Watkins

What kind of refreshments were served? Secondly, is the Minister aware of the anxiety among my constituents at Service men being used for the purposes described in my Question?

Mr. Hare

I was not asked the type of refreshments served, but I should say that it was probably a mixture of alcohol and soft drinks. On the second part of the supplementary question, my answer is that I am concerned that three soldiers were employed for this purpose and I am making inquiries into the matter.