1st February 1942: Agriculture in Invasion

The following notice appears in EJR's Journals for 1st February 1942, following the visit of J.C. Leslie, Executive Officer of the Essex War Agricultural Committee, who addressed farmers in Colchester's Corn Exchange on 31st January 1942 on the subject of wartime agriculture.


If invasion comes farmers should never on their own initiative destroy their crops, their stock, or their equipment. Conditions here are different from those in other countries. This country is small and there is no question of abandoning any part of it to the enemy. The invader will be repelled and will not be given time to make use of our agricultural resources.

Our present food needs are great but they may well be greater during and after invasion. Nothing should be destroyed unless orders are given by a responsible military officer. What destruction has to be done has been planned and will be carried out by the Military Authorities. The country’s productive resources must be preserved as far as possible, since our power to strike back will depend on them. The enemy, through repelled, would have partly succeeded if he induced us to carry out a large-scale policy of destruction by burning ricks, crops and buildings and slaughtering cattle.

But farmers and farm workers must do all in their power to hinder the enemy. They must hide food, feeding stuffs and other stocks, put their vehicles out of action and try to prevent the enemy from laying hands on anything that might be useful to him.’

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