1920s - Arthur Branson
Charles Branson was the farm manager for Sir Mervyn Manningham-Buller on the Broomhill Estate and his son, Arthur, remembers his happy childhood growing up on the farm in the 1900s.
"We all had to take our turn at the different farm work like milking the cows. When the war (First World War) started, men were hard to get for farm work, so we boys had to take up the slack. One of my regular jobs was to take a gallon of milk each morning and evening to the big house. I did that for a long time and I liked the job, as I was well looked after by the staff. The cook always had a treat for me.
Hay time and harvest were great days. Help would come from the stable hands at haying time. About four in the afternoon we boys would go to the estate kitchen where the cook would have prepared a basket of sandwiches and cake, and a can of tea. We would all then sit down in the field and enjoy our tea break. All hay and grain was put in stacks at the farm, then once each year, a steam engine would come puffing in hauling the threshing machine and stacker. It would take some time to get all lined up with the driving belts in place. We would sit and watch with amazement at the skill of the driver with the big lumbering steam engine.
The war years changed everything for us. I was 12 years old when it started in 1914. Most of the young fellows in the village joined the army right away and it soon got to the point where very few men were left to work on the farms so we boys had to help out best we could. After a while a prisoner of war camp was set up on a farm just north of Creaton. The prisoners had all volunteered to work on the farms. I saw my first Germans as they came marching through the village with two British soldiers as guards with their guns and fixed bayonets. There were about 20 of them in their grey uniforms and pillbox hats and a big red patch on their backs and on each trouser leg. Dad had three for just over two years. They were good workers and anxious to please. At first Dad had to go and get them from the camp each morning and return them to the camp each night. After awhile we boys were allowed to be the guards and it became my job to go for them each morning and take them back at night. War is a stupid thing. There was my brother, uncles and cousins over in France fighting the Germans, and we had three who had become our friends and who, but for going back to the camp each night, were free and enjoying working on the farm.
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