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Tank Exercises, Merioneth (Damage)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War why three heavy tanks from Trawsfynydd Camp, Merioneth, were recently driven over neighbouring roads and bridges which were too narrow for them, causing serious damage to roads, bridges, walls and ditches; why the tanks were driven through a boundary wall on to private agricultural land; and why tank exercises were then carried out on this land without any permission having been obtained or any explanation being given.

Three tanks were moved by transporters from Chester to Trawsfynydd to ascertain whether the area was suitable for tank training. A transporter on the route, which had been previously reconnoitred, had difficulty in negotiating two very sharp bends and blocked the road. While endeavouring to clear it damage was caused to the wall of a bridge. Because of this, the other two transporters were re-routed but these unfortunately also got into difficulties and caused damage to the road and a wall. Owing to a misunderstanding, one tank did go a short distance outside the boundary of War Department land but returned almost immediately and caused no damage to wall or fences. Apart from this no tank exercises were carried out on private agricultural land.

Does not the Minister agree that the experience of these three tanks with their transporters, which local people believe weighed over 100 tons apiece, shows that this area is totally unfitted for the type of training which the War Office proposes should take place there?