`Old Major` who`s real name was "Arthur
Whiting" was a Sergeant in the armed services, with
his perfectly trimmed white moustache and erect stature, it was easy
to see how he obtained this elevated (fictitious)rank.
When he was discharged from the army
after the war, he gained employment on a farm in Pebmarsh where his
parents worked. He soon discovered that his fellow employees were
being payed far more in wages than he was, now this seemed a little
He approached the farmer and requested a possible rise in his wages,
where he was told to report back next morning for a decision.
However, the next day he was confronted
by the farmer and the local policeman who instructed him to leave
the farm immediately.
If he did not leave as requested, his
family would also suffer the same consequence.
Not wishing to jeopardise the tenancy of his father and mother as
they were now under threat of eviction, he left with very little belongings
and was consequently made homeless.
To someone who had served his country during the second world war,
this seemed to be a terrible injustice.
Desperately looking for somewhere to
stay, he came across the empty hut left by the death of George Baker,
at last he had a roof over his head.
Fortunately, it was not long
as he soon found employment with the Webbers at Bakers Hall Farm.
As he had no connection with Butlers Farm (owner of the land) "The
Hut" was subsequently towed away to Valley Farm where he continued
He was often seen in the "Angel
Public House" and "The Swan" once a week having a well
earned drink. It seemed he could lay his hands on most things if you
were short of food. Not unusual for a small bag of potatoes to come
from under his heavy army coat for the price of a pint.
Sometimes he would stagger out of "The Swan" worse for drink
amd make his way back along Colne Rd. It`s thought some days, he didnt
make it to the hut and fell asleep in the ditch.
After a couple of years he became poorly and failed to return to work
at Bakers Hall. He disappeared from the area and it`s assumed he either
died or found sanctuary somewhere else.
(No dates confirmed)
If you can shed any more information
on this gentlemen, then please use the Contact icon or the Forum
ver 1 29.02.08
Thanks to Gordon Webber(dec), Malcolm Cook