- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Muriel Patricia Brind (nee Waller)
- Location of story:
- Gloucestershire, Northants, Lincolnshire
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 27 September 2005
This story was submitted to the People’s War website by Sue Sedgwick from and on behalf of Mrs Muriel Patricia Brind and has been added to the website with her permission. Mrs Brind fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.
I was born in 1926 in South Shields Co. Durham and 10 years later moved to Stroud Gloucestershire with my parents. A farmer friend said I could go to the farm during school holidays and I learned to hand milk there. The feeling of warm udders and the splish splash of the milk into the bucket is an experience I will never forget. Getting up early in the morning and walking at the side of a field of blue linseed with dew glistening on it was wonderful getting the cows in for the first milking of the day. In fine weather my friend and I were allowed to sleep in the dutch barn on the newly mowed hay, with bats swooping backward and forwards above us.
In 1939 in my 13th school year I new I wanted to become a vet, but the length of the course i.e. 7 years and the start of World War 2 found me at Reading University in 1943-1945. We spent a lot of time in the air raid shelters under the main buildings, but were never directly bombed. I was in charge of a stirrup pump and fire bucket full of sand but luckily never put it into real use. They were 2 wonderful years, all aspects of agriculture were studied in depth and in the dairy we learned butter and cheese making- a Stilton cheese was ripened and presented to Winston Churchill at the end of the War. I obtained a National Diploma in Dairying (NDD), the Reading University Diploma and that of the British Dairy Farmers Association for butter and cheese making. To obtain these qualifications six months had to be spent on a farm and I was lucky to be taken on by a very large Pedigree Friesian breeder in Northants where we milked 150 cows three times a day. After milking my job was to wash up all the equipment, and here had experiences I will tell you about.
Italian prisoners of war came to help on the farm and they used to follow me about trying to help in their typical and happy manner and a plea was often made that I should have a “Blond Bambino”, but I escaped their loving embraces unscathed!! This was unlike some of the village girls and many Italians stayed after the war and married locally.
The next consignment of prisoners were German and their temperament and behaviour was miles apart from their Italian neighbours. After milking my job was in the fields singling sugar beet, or helping to harvest peas or potatoes. It was heavy work heaving sacks around, and my 8 stone weight got no help from the German co-workers. Perhaps I was better of with less attention, on reflection in later life.
I was back at the university on V.E. night and the joy and celebrations when the lights went on was unimaginable after 6 years of blackout. The students stayed up all night, we lit a tremendous bonfire everything that blazed went up in flames. We sang ourselves hoarse- it was “The Lambeth Walk” and “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree” that were danced.
I contracted Bovine Tuberculosis in the glands of my neck but two operations later was fit to return to work and started at he War Ag. Offices for the Ministry of Agriculture in Dec 1945, as a Milk Production Officer. My work revolved round visiting problem farms where the milk supplied to the processing dairies was substandard and trying to improve the keeping quality by tracing the problem areas.
My little pre-war Ford Prefect permanently smelt of sour milk.
I worked at the Min of Ag for over 6 years until I married in Boston Lincs. in 1951, to my husband who, on being demobbed, joined a firm of agricultural merchants. Now 54 years later we are still alive and kicking and have watched the T.V. coverage of the War in which we took some tiny part.
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