Crowle at War:Part 11.Pig potatoes, war casualties – submitted by Bill Goldthorp
The small potatoes would be scooped up and taken to the fold yard. Every farm had a yardman who looked after the cows, pigs, chickens and other livestock In the farm building where the pig potatoes were stored would be a large copper where the potatoes would be boiled before being fed to the pigs. Boiled in their jackets they were lovely flowery, sweet and tasty.
From the age of seven or so we roamed the countryside. Our parents had no idea where we went. My father said. “ He’ll come home when he’s hungry”. At times it would not be until dusk was approaching. Midday would see us heading for the nearest farm and the copper with pig potatoes in it. The yardman never told us off, was usually pleased to see us and would join us with his lunch pail. He would know one or two of the boys, the rest were introduced, but he would not want to know your name but your fathers. once he knew your fathers name he knew you. We were also a useful source of gossip and knew which farmer was contemplating harvesting which field, this allowed him to tip off family members so that they could contract to do the harvesting.
Probably because farming was a reserved occupation and battles did not result in the massive death tolls of the First World War trench fighting I have little recollection of neighbours or friends suffering family tragedies. My own family suffered very lightly.
My mother’s young cousin was killed when the HMS Hood blew up during a sea battle early in the war. Auntie Ella’s eldest son was captured at Dunkirk. He was a prisoner of war for five years. He made good use of his time and obtained a couple of University Degrees, which enabled him to get a very good job when he came home. Sidney her youngest son entered the RAF in 1943, ended up in Burma, where he was subject to some tropical diseases, which cleared up as soon as he came home. The experience disturbed him and he was never able to get back down to studying when he returned and he never carried out his initial ambitions.
All in all growing up in Crowle during the war and the difficult recovery period afterwards was nothing unusual. It was that of a typical country boy whose parents were modestly prosperous, interested in his education and who was fortunate enough to pass the Scholarship examination for the local Grammar School.