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Wartime Farm



  • As with the Victorian & Edwardian Farm series, I'm not expecting accuracy in every minuscule detail, just an outline & general idea of how things were at the time.....time would prevent otherwise.

    Frank, perhaps in should be remembered that there are others hereabouts who in their time may have stacked a few stooks, delivered milk with a pony & trap and cut their pea & bean sticks from the local coppice. image

  • David, minuscule I expect and forgive, massive is not history but faulty information.
    I hope David, there are many who where there abouts and that they will join in the debate as they did with the other series, it got quite lively at times.
    It was certainly a character and memory forming time when school kids had to do their best to help parents who were in war work they who also remembered a previous war and worried about those kids, some of whom thought it a great adventure.


  • "I hope David, there are many who where there abouts and that they will join in the debate as they did with the other series, it got quite lively at times."

    Indeed, Frank! image

  • Just read this clip about tomorrow night's first episode.

    "Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn face up to the challenges of the biggest revolution ever seen in the history of the British countryside as they turn Manor Farm back to how it was run in the Second World War. When Britain entered the war, two-thirds of all Britain's food was imported - and now it was under threat from a Nazi blockade. To save Britain from starvation, the nation's farmers were tasked with doubling food production in what Churchill called 'the frontline of freedom'. This meant ploughing up 6.5 million acres of unused land - a combined area bigger than the whole of Wales.

    In this first episode, the farmers find themselves in a new location, a new time period and with a new team member. There is a new farmhouse to modernise, strict new rules to abide by and air raid precautions to contend with.

    The team begin by reclaiming badlands to grow new crops. Peter works with a blacksmith to design a special 'mole plough' to help drain the waterlogged clay fields. Ruth and Alex get to grips with a troublesome wartime tractor - and must plough through the night to get the wheat crop sown in time.

    On top of farmers' herculean efforts to double food production, their detailed knowledge of the landscape also made them ideal recruits for one of the war's most secret organisations - the 'Auxiliary Units', a British resistance force trained to use guerrilla tactics against German invasion."

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,178

    I loved the previous series, so look forward to this one.  Having been born just after the war, I remember the privations that still existed for many long years.  The flower nursery at the end of the garden was just a tiny bit too small to be forced into food production.  I don't know what they did grow - but they certainly kept chickens, which attracted the rats, which attracted the cats - which is why our moggie had lacy ears - the trophies of many fights with competing toms!  This was in North London.  I looked the area up on Google Earth - built on and unrecognisable!

    Relatives in Kent were very much part of the food production imperative.  And they lived beneath "Bomb Alley" - the flight path of the Doodlebugs - so it wasn't without its dangers!  Re-visiting the area around Coxheath some years ago, it was hard to imaging it as producing anything - except houses! 

  • My Mum lived in the Hastings area around the end of the war, and she can remember the ships that came in to lay PLUTO to keep the forward bases for the Normandy landings supplied.  I can remember her telling me about the Doodlebugs, and seeing footage of them, but only fairly recently saw the preserved one at Duxford.  It's a big thing for a bomb, but I can't imagine how skilled some of the pilots were to fly alongside and tip them upside down (it did something to the gyroscope so they crashed).  It must have been terrifying hearing them, and even more terrifying when they cut out!

  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,178

    Well - I enjoyed the episode this evening, and look forward to the rest of the series.  Re-enacting farming of the time certainly brings it home to us just how hard it must all have been.  And to think that a paraffin stove was seen as a great innovation and convenient!  I'd read about them - but never seen one in operation, so that was a new experience for me.  We take so much for granted these days. 

  • I enjoyed this first episode too, although having the benefit of knowing the final outcome, it's difficult to comprehend how serious the situation really was.

  • I did watch with some doubt although suitably surprised there were no big errors. The Fordson Tractor in our area on the normal farms was a rarity, although various types of singe cylinder models did exist, it was still mainly steam for threshing and hauling the large roots out of the ground as trees were cleared. When the tractor did arrive we removed the plugs each night and put them on top of the range that never went out, drained the float chamber and next morning filled the float with petrol out of the small tank fired it up with a couple of swings and when warm changed over the paraffin.
    Never saw one of those parafin stoves apart from the Army we had the big black range which burnt what ever we had going plus a gas oven.
    The black outs were a light wood frame and tar paper plus curtains in the bedrooms and over doors with plenty of loose cloth at the bottom to stop draught and keep the light in. We mainly used gas light though did have a single electric lamp in each room and of course the Radio.
    What they did not show was that all spare ground was dug up including parks playing fields common land and even the verges outside houses, they were planted up with food items, millions of people provided a good amount of their own food also keeping a few chicken and a pig, we had a small holding so had quite a few fowl and animals.
    I certainly have no memory of night ploughing probably because we had German Bombers flying in over the coast to go inland Bombing the Northern city's then flying back out over us dropping any spares they had left over on us.
    Just to add we in the North also had flying bombs, the Germans flew near the coast and released them one did fall less than a mile from us.
    Tell Ruth you changed gear at the halt.



    While watching wartime farm something struck me and has rattled round in my head since, it was them listening to the Neville Chamberlain telling us we were at war with Germany, Ruth said I wonder what they were really thinking. I wrote the story a few years back when the grandchildren did a project at school but made it sound a lot less traumatic than it was.
    Too long and off subject for here though I can tell Ruth, it was life changing and a shock to the system seeing my Grandmother and Aunts crying, they remembered the loss of relatives in the first war, and had sons old enough to fight, the men in a panic when the sirens promptly went and the total fear of us children suddenly thrust into a black hole under the stairs with wet towels thrown over our heads.
    That day changed many things for me, we had started by picking up my Aunt Uncle and two cousins, we were the only ones with transport and heading off to Grandma's. There it turned sombre as we played and they prepared lunch and talked. We were called in to hear the announcement which was not at eleven as stated but shortly after, then the weeping started but the sirens turned it into a mad house. When the all clear went it took a long time to calm us kids down, we finally had lunch them motored home, life had changed and even us kids knew it. It was not the broadcast then OK lets get on with it as some try to say.


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