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Working on the Land in Wartime

by British Schools Museum

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
British Schools Museum
People in story: 
Mr Sidney Grey
Location of story: 
Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
16 November 2005

I was 16 when war broke out, I worked on the land at Wymondley Bury at Little Wymondley. The owner of the farm was William Ransom. I did all the jobs from cutting lavender and henbane to hoeing and harvesting.

About 12 German prisoners of war also worked there. I think they came from Royston. In the dinner break these men went into the woods to collect willow branches; their foreman said they made beautiful baskets which they “sold” for about 5 cigarettes — “cigaretten” they called them.

Two of the prisoners - Fritz and Heinz from the Panzer Korps built a garage for the car that Mr Ransom gave to the foreman — it still stands. They said how happy they were to be working on the land and even said they weren’t looking forward to going back to Germany.

The German prisoners didn’t like the Italian prisoners working for Mr Hayley and living in a keeper’s cottage at Willian. These prisoners went for a drink at night in the Plume of Feathers.

We saw two ‘Fortress’ planes crash at Weston in daytime — we heard only two Americans got out alive.

This memory has been submitted by The British Schools Museum on behalf of Mr Sidney Grey

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