Bill Moffat, of Natland, recalls life in the 1940s
“I was born in 1938 in Kendal, where I lived with my mum, dad and two sisters. Both my parents were from farming families, my father’s farming at Dent and mother’s (the Mounsey’s) up the Langdale Valley. I suppose this accounts for my early interest in agriculture. Dad left home and worked both on farms and in the building trade and for a time in a milk house in Liverpool. From 1942-49 he worked around Westmorland for the War Ag, an organisation which helped the farmers produce crops by good land usage, helping the war effort in the countryside.
The team of men working from this area (South Westmorland) were based at Oxenholme stable buildings, which belonged to Oxenholme House. Here was a large workshop, store, office and tea room. Implements were kept in a large Nissen hut and in the stores were various parts for ploughs, binders, mowing machines, thrashing machines, standing balers and tractors.
About 30 men worked at Oxenholme, including three mechanics, a clerk and a man named Parker Hodgson, whose job it was to go around the farms assessing then allocating the work for the men. Some of the ploughmen were Jack Moffat, Bill Shaw, Bob Jackson, Tom Smith, Bob Wilson, Bert Hill, Jack Airey, Harry Jones, Percy Ellwood, Clifford Smith, Arthur Cheeseman, Ben Robinson and Jim Armer. The tractors used for ploughing would be mostly wheel tractors but some caterpillar tractors were used for rough and steep ground. (D2 and International TD6, these came from America on Lease and Lend along with Ford Ferguson wheel tractors). In February through to March when the thrashing season had ended the ploughing out of lay or grass would begin.”