BRITISH troops returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are to receive a free turnip, the government has announced.
The move comes after mounting pressure from servicemen and their families, determined to receive some kind of large vegetable in recognition of their sacrifice.
Des Browne, the defence secretary, said: "As a society we do tend to go on and on and on and on about how brave our troops are, especially in comparison to the French.
"So I am delighted to announce that the next time I meet soldiers getting off the plane from Kabul, I will be able to hold out my hand and say,'well done, here's a turnip'."
Mr Browne said the large root vegetable was both a tangible recognition of their bravery and could make an interesting soup which would feed a family of Geordies or Scots for up to a day.
He stressed that offering an exemption from council tax or a large cash bonus would send out the 'wrong message'.
Mr Browne added: "When you've spent six months desperately trying to avoid being killed by psychopaths in a war that has lost all meaning, £140 off your council tax could be seen as an insult.
"A turnip, on the other hand, is an enduring symbol of a nation's gratitude. You could keep it in a box and show it to your grandchildren.
"And who knows, perhaps that turnip will inspire a new generation of heroes."