NOSTALGIA: Dad helped the war effort in the countryside

The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author

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.”

Westmorland Gazette, Sunday 6 December 2015


Staveley man jailed for violent domestic attack

The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author

A MAN who left a woman bleeding in the shower after a violent domestic attack has been jailed by a judge.

Stuart Grady, 27, struck Michelle Larkin twice to the head inside her house at Oxenholme, near Kendal, on June 4. Grady lost his temper after Miss Larkin was sent a text message by another man. She was left with a scar to her forehead following an incident which occurred while the couple were involved in a “tempestuous” on-off relationship.

Grady was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday having pleaded guilty to four offences. He admitted an actual bodily harm assault on Miss Larkin and the theft of £110 from her bank account the same day. Grady also entered guilty pleas to possession of a 12 inch kitchen knife and an extendable pole in the street near her home on June 3. Judge Peter Davies sent Grady, of Main Street, Staveley, to prison for 18 months. Grady was also given a restraining order which prevents him contacting his now former partner for 10 years.

Westmorland Gazette, Tuesday 24 November 2015


Elaine Steele named as Troutbeck Bridge tractor crash victim

2015 car crash victim_80862589_elainesteele

Ms Steele worked at a holiday park in Windermere

Police have named a pedestrian who died following a collision with a tractor and a car in the Lake District. Elaine Steele, 59, from Oxenholme, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident on the A591 at Troutbeck Bridge, near Windermere, on Friday. The male drivers of both the tractor and the car were not seriously injured.

The family of Ms Steele, who worked at a Windermere holiday park, described her as a “kind and soft-hearted woman” who would “do anything for anyone”. A police investigation into the crash is continuing.

BBC Cumbria, 8 February 2015

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