Holbeach farmers appeal against subscription

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A tribunal held in Holbeach 100 years ago gives an insight into the huge numbers employed on farms in the district.

The meeting of Holbeach Urban Tribunal to hear 93 appeals against conscription also gives a flavour of the jobs men were doing on the land.

At the time of going to press, 53 applications had been dealt with, of which 14 were refused, two totally exempted, 30 temporarily exempted, and seven adjourned.

For instance, Mr T J Ward, a farmer from Leadenhall, Holbeach, was claiming exemption for five employees – horseman and ploughman Fred Hutson, cowman and pigman Robert George Lawton, horsemen George William Jackson and John Reddin, and waggoner Saul Neve.

The farmer said he employed 32 men, as well as five women and ten lads, and kept a large amount of stock. Of his 1,000 acres, 990 acres were used for arable crops.

Mr Ward had already lost 22 men to war, but the tribunal only gave a temporary exemption to three men, and the other two applications were refused.

Alderman H P Carter, another Holbeach farmer, also wanted exemptions for three horsemen, Sidney Barnett, of Holbeach St Marks, Herbert Thickpenny and Todd, both of Holbeach Hurn.

Farmer Mr A H Worth, on behalf of his father and himself, was claiming exemption for one head horseman from each of four farms – Herbert Graham, J W Croft, William Thompson and Ernest William Long, who were all exempted until October.

Farmer George Caudwell, of Holbeach Marsh, was employing 16 women to replace the 12 men who had gone to war. He received exemptions for motor lorry driver Alfred Larrington and three horsemen on 500 acres – Jabez Hather, Robert Davy and Henry Mills.