asked His Majesty's Government what orders have been issued to O.C. troops in regard to steps to avoid damage to standing crops during military exercises and whether such orders apply to orchards, market gardens and vegetable gardens, and, if such orders do not include orchards, market gardens and vegetable gardens, 554WA whether His Majesty's Government will issue orders to O.C. troops that such places should be included and to see that sentries are posted to ensure that no damage is done to orchards.
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (LORD CROFT)
A pamphlet, prepared after consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and with the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, is issued to company or equivalent commanders of units stationed at home. The pamphlet is a guide to the use of land for training and emphasizes the necessity of close co-operation between farmers and troops in order to avoid damage to vital agricultural interests. The necessity of observing great care in order not to damage crops of all kinds, orchards and gardens is stressed in this pamphlet. The advice and instructions contained in this pamphlet are repeatedly impressed on the troops.
The number of small orchards entirely precludes the posting of sentries for their protection. In general, it may be said that troops have shown very great respect for agricultural interests even when operating over land which has been requisitioned under D.R. 51. This respect for crops has in several cases had a detrimental effect on training and has prevented troops learning to make the best use of the land over which they have been manoeuvring. Further action to restrict the movement of troops can only have a serious and detrimental effect on their training and cannot therefore be contemplated.