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Making the Most of Memory: Farm Lads' Tales

By Stephen Caunce
Tough work

Image of Mr Masterman in 1914
Mr Masterman in 1914. He was 18, and about to leave the East Riding to fight in France 
But it was a tough way for young lads to start out, and the first winter especially could be grim, as Mr Masterman (born in 1896 in Thorngumbald) recalled:

I went out at 13. I left school at 13 and I went to that farm at Keyingham Grange and the next morning they gave me a pair of horses and a plough and I went with the other lads and I ploughed all day, every day, as long as they did. I know at night I was a right mess. I was all mud, because plough knocked me down.
When the horses turned in, instead of me knowing what to do with the plough so that the plough swung round, I left the plough and the horses turning round and pulled. The blinking handles caught me at the back of the knees and knocked me down all in the mud and I was all mud. But I soon learned, I soon learned how to just lean my plough over so it slided round without knocking me down.
The waggoners used to use the boot. They did and all. The lads was well-disciplined - and them boots the waggoner used to wear, you know, they were boots. They weren't like these ... They were boots with metal toes and if you got one o' them you knew you'd had - you knew a day or two after. You didn't want that twice!

Published: 2005-01-31



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