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Sad Day For Prince


Early in 1940 my dad managed to get a permit to import a tractor from the USA. These machines were highly sought after as you can imagine as the whole world was about to be embroiled in war and the need to grow large amounts of food was becoming very urgent.

This was not to be a new machine as the manufacturers had stopped making tractors and turned to the manufacture of armaments to supply the worldwide need. This tractor turned out to be a second hand International Harvester W6 and was about five years old and in very good condition. Quite how dad managed to get to the front of the queue for such a sought after machine was surprising, but then that was the talent of the man; to impress the powers that be and persuade that he was the man to be trusted to use the machine and increase the productivity of the farm and produce more badly needed food.

These machines were impossible to buy and it was supplied by the War Department to farmers who were trusted to put them to good use!

As you can imagine when the tractor arrived in Wyke Champflower it caused quite a stir and my brother Jim made sure he was the first one of the family to sit in the driver’s seat! He couldn’t wait to take it out to the field to drive it although he had only driven dad’s car around the yard previously. One or two farm implements were converted to be tractor drawn and had the shafts which attached the horses removed and replaced with a hitch arrangement to couple the tractor.

The first job the new arrival ever did was to pull the grass mower which was used to cut the first hay crop of the season and everyone was assembled in the farmyard to watch the preparations for this momentous moment. Willy Hutchins who was the head Carter on the farm then said to father “I’ll bring the hoss on down boss just in case” even though father assured him that would not be necessary, Willy continued to prepare the ‘Hoss’.

Eventually after all preparations had been made everyone trooped off to the field to watch the excitement. Luckily all went smoothly and the arrival of the new machine was greeted with mixed feelings as tractors do not have a great deal of personality and horses are such great characters. Father loved his horses and as you know had made another little income out of training them for both riding and farmwork, however he new that the future of farming was almost certainly using tractors and larger machinery to keep up with the ever increasing demand for food.

Willy and Prince who had watched from the edge of the field knew that the sun was setting on their particular part to play in life and both had tears in their eyes.



May 2024


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