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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Info needed for Land Army novel

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Shirley Mann

09-16-2020 07:41:58




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Hello I'm writing my 3rd war novel and this one is going to be about a Land Army girl. I need to introduce her to a tractor in 1943 and teach her how to drive it. Can someone talk me through it? What would she see when she first gets in the bucket seat? Would someone showing her how to drive it, be able to stand on a metal plate to the side? Any help for authenticity gratefully accepted. My husband's a farmer's son but he tells me he just got in and drove one!

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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:43:03




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Thank you Michael, I have interviewed some Land Army girls, fortunately a few years ago as they are all getting on or no longer with us, but I appreciate your comments. Thank you



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:40:49




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Ah yes, the wonderfully healthy wartime diet! Thanks a lot



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:40:00




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
I think I'm going to make it a Fordson N- sounds like my best bet. Thanks



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Bob N.Y.

09-17-2020 16:14:25




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-17-2020 12:40:00  
Good choice.



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:38:59




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Thanks so much, very much appreciated



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:37:28




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Thank you Joe, no I haven't committed to which crop yet but it's a good point so thank you.



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:36:25




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Yes, I did know about that series and may take another look at it. I did interview several Land Army 'girls' and I have another one's diaries and they're a great help too. Thank you for responding.



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:34:29




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Thank you so much, it's really kind of you to respond.



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:33:31




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Ah I've been tracked down, thank you for responding, it's really important to me to get the details right.



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:32:17




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Thank you so much for responding



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:31:28




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Great contact idea, thank you



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:30:33




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Ha ha! Now that might make a good angle!



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Shirley Mann

09-17-2020 12:29:17




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Reply: this is exactly the sort of detail I need, thank you



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MJ in the UK

09-17-2020 03:11:37




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Hi Shirley, I live in the village of Collingham just north of Newark on Trent and during the war we had a Land Army hostel here in the village. Most of the girls came from the Nottingham area and a lot of them married farmers sons and lived in the area but I do not know if any of them are still alive.The sons and daughters of the girls have saved a lot of infomation about them and some of them do reactions of thrashing days etc as we are all keen members of vintage tractor clubs. I am 77 years old and have been collecting old tractors since 1967 so I now alot of the local farmers and their families. Michael Hart.

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warbaby

09-16-2020 17:47:47




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
I think your best bet would be to contact a local tractor club or collector and go and test drive a machine from that era for yourself. You simply cant pick up the detailed minutia from someone elses narrative like you could from actually sitting in the seat and learning what the various contols do, to say nothing of the feel, sounds and smells you'll experience!

If your Land Army gal is based in Britain, Scotland or Ireland, a Fordson "N" would have been the most common tractor that was used in the programme, but a David Brown VAK1 Cropmaster is a close second. Not only that, it is-(IMHO)- the quintessential British agricultural machine of that era .

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warbaby

09-16-2020 17:53:55




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to warbaby, 09-16-2020 17:47:47  
Oh, and the upholstered seat on a Cropmaster was wide enough to sit two abreast, no need to stand on the rear hitch or sit on "side-saddle" a fender when teaching a novice to drive!

(were talking WWII era derrieres here, getting two modern behinds in a Cropmaster seat might be a bit of a squeeze...)



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showcrop

09-16-2020 15:44:57




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
2X what Bob NY said. It would have been a pan seat, not a bucket seat, and it would have been mounted over the rear with no plate on the side to stand on. The instructor would stand with one foot on the drawbar and the other on the axle. Feel free to post back with any more specific questions.



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old-9

09-16-2020 15:12:58




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
What Country is the story taking place? Would make a difference on what tractor and type of crops planted. Good luck with your book. joe



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Absent Minded Farmer

09-16-2020 10:29:09




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Hello Shirley, do a Google search for "Farmall Tractorette". There's quite a bit of good information out there, especially from the Wisconsin Historical Society & Octane Press. Yes, I'm sure the other manufacturers had similar programs, just not familiar with them. I'll be checking back on this post to see what others say about what their favorite tractor brand had to offer.

Good luck on your book!

Mike

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Crazy Horse

09-16-2020 09:47:42




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Shirley .... I did some Googling ..... a link below to one of your other two books ..... that is really interesting that you are visiting us. Hopefully, someone can help you out ....



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Bob N.Y.

09-16-2020 09:20:51




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Most tractors that were around in 1943 were mounted from the rear and had a pan seat. It is more likely that the trainer would be behind the trainee.



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Majorman

09-16-2020 08:30:05




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
When you say Land Army do you mean the British Women who worked on the farms in the 1940's to 1950's? If so there is an archive in the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum at Gressenhall near East Dereham in Norfolk, England. The Norfolk Museum Service at County Hall, Norwich in Norfolk would be the place to contact.

The tractors they would have driven in this area were mainly Fordson Model "N"'s although in the Lincolnshire area on vegetable crops they may have driven John Deere's.

J. J. Wright and Sons of East Dereham were one of the only companies, other than the manufacturer, to set up a Government training school to train women and men to drive, maintain and repair the tractors.

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Bill(Wis)

09-16-2020 08:17:31




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Are you picky about what brand of tractor you're going to write about? I ask this because some tractors are easier to drive than others. A neighbor taught his 8 year old daughter to drive a John Deere (sometimes a B, sometimes an A) pulling a hay wagon between rows of hay bales in the field as several farmers loaded the bales on the wagon. Those 2 cylinder John Deeres were relatively easy to drive because they had hand operated clutches versus almost every other brand which used a foot clutch. They also had a flat platform to stand on which provided a safe place for an "instructor" plus the driver. Ours also all had fenders. One day little Nancy called to her father saying that the handle (clutch lever) was too hot to touch. We didn't realize it, but she'd been slipping the clutch because it was a little too hard for her to push the clutch lever all the way forward to lock it in position. The clutch got so hot from all the slipping that the heat finally made it all the way up the clutch lever. We had a good laugh about that.

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cdmn

09-16-2020 10:49:41




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Bill(Wis), 09-16-2020 08:17:31  
Twentytwo years ago there was a very poignant movie called, "Land Girls"
I bought my own copy. There was also a TV series that is available on DVD.
Stuart Gibbard shows a few photos in his Ford book, "The Ford Tractor Story, 1917-64",
starting on Pg 60. They seem to be wearing semi-military coats and gloves. Some with military
style head covering, and some bare-headed. Some wear white shirts with neck-ties.

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Larry EC-OH

09-16-2020 07:54:47




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 Re: Info needed for Land Army novel in reply to Shirley Mann, 09-16-2020 07:41:58  
Would she be driving the John Deere with the machine guns?



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