Interview with Donald Rainey


Interview with Donald Rainey


Donald Rainey was born in 1927 and he lived with his family at the Royal Oak in Scopwick. Donald remembers George Formby’s wife, Beryl staying at the pub for four days in the war whilst entertaining the troops at Digby. Got a job as an apprentice engineer at British Crop Driers, as a maintenance fitter. Donald describes life in Scopwick during the war. Scopwick was surrounded by RAF stations and Donald describes the pub and meeting servicemen there. Donald remembers aircraft being shot down. Donald describes the pub as always busy as there was nowhere else for servicemen to go.




Temporal Coverage





00:34:53 audio recording

Conforms To


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MC: This interview is being conducted on behalf of the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Mike Connock and the interviewee is Donald Rainey. The interview is taking place at the home of Mr Rainey’s daughter, Mrs Barker in North Hykeham, Lincoln on the 7th of June 2018. Also in attendance is Mrs Wendy Barker.
[recording paused]
WB: Go.
MC: Well, thanks for doing the interview, Don. What I want to start off with is right from the beginning. You asked me how far back I want to go. When and where were you born?
DR: Cranwell Air Force, Air Reserve because my, my mother’s sister husband was a big wig in Cranwell. Teaching through all the war.
MC: So you were born there.
DR: And that’s how I was born there but I lived at Scopwick.
MC: When was that?
DR: At the Royal Oak.
MC: When was that that you were born?
DR: 1927.
MC: ’27.
DR: Yeah. That makes me old.
MC: Yeah. No [laughs] There’s a few of you still around. So what did your parents do?
DR: They lived in the pub. The Royal Oak at Scopwick.
MC: Oh, did they?
DR: Yeah. And in that pub in the war we had George Formby’s wife for ENSA. And she stopped at our pub for about four days entertaining the troops. Beryl they called her, didn’t they? Beryl. George Formby’s wife. Beryl. And she stayed at the Royal Oak at Scopwick in the war entertaining the troops in Digby. In the aerodromes.
MC: So you went to school in Scopwick.
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah. What was school —
DR: I left in 1942.
MC: What were schooldays like in those days?
DR: Useless.
MC: Did you enjoy school?
DR: Yeah.
MC: Oh, you did. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so tell me so when war broke out how old were you? That would be ’26. Be fourteen.
DR: About just before the war.
MC: Twelve. Thirteen. Twelve or thirteen.
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah.
DR: I left school at fourteen. Had to do and go to —
MC: Yeah. Yeah. A lot did.
DR: And I went to engine, apprentice engineering. British Crop Driers.
MC: You did well.
DR: Yeah. I got a job straight away.
MC: Yeah. You did in those days.
DR: A fitter, maintenance fitter. Seven years apprentice it was in them days.
MC: Yeah. So, you did a full apprenticeship, did you?
DR: Yeah. Seven years.
MC: So when you were, so when war broke out you were, you were still in Scopwick.
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah. So tell me some of the stories about Scopwick then and what you saw.
DR: Saw? All the Air Force. In our pub at Scopwick after the first war they extended it because we’d got that many customers. Air force. Airmen and WAAFs from Digby aerodrome, you know.
MC: So you mentioned about this Lancaster you saw.
DR: Yeah.
MC: Doing fighter affiliation.
DR: That was, that was the one. That was in the, at the end of the war, wasn’t it? It was the 11th of March 1945 it crashed. And it got hit with that Spitfire and it chopped the back end clean off. And that landed at, near Scopwick Station. The tail end did.
MC: Where did the rest of it go then?
DR: The back of the Ash Holt Woods between Blankney and Scopwick. Outside the main road between Blankney and Scopwick. And they was all killed.
MC: Did you have a lot to do with the RAF at the time?
DR: No. I didn’t go to, I didn’t go in the war.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Because I was a bit too one life, and I’d done, and I was doing an apprentice. They didn’t call you up —
MC: No. I just wondered whether you met any of them on a regular basis?
DR: Oh, I did. In the Air Force.
MC: Up until —
DR: The pilots from Digby.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Definitely we did.
MC: Yeah.
DR: They used to come over our pub swooping when they come back.
WB: Dad used to play the piano accordion in the pub.
DR: Aye. In the pub.
MC: Your dad did.
DR: I did.
WB: No. You did.
MC: You did. You played the piano accordion.
DR: I was taught. Yeah. I was taught music.
MC: Who taught you to play music? Music then?
DR: A firm in Lincoln it was them days.
MC: Oh right.
DR: And then I used to play in the pub. Aye.
MC: You weren’t very old then.
DR: I weren’t. I were seventeen. Eighteen. I was eighteen then.
MC: Yeah. So that would be, yeah towards the back end of the war then.
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah. So were you —
DR: And that —
MC: So, and any other instances that you remember from that time?
DR: About the beginning of the war Waddington, I don’t know if anybody knows this there used to be a red flashing light at Waddington Aerodrome. And what they did they used to stop that at night and they used to have a decoy and pull it between Scopwick, on the [Mere?] Lane on a Saturday night for a decoy for the Germans. Not. You know, we used to see it.
MC: That’s, that’s interesting.
DR: That’s true that is. A big decoy. And they used to have that flashing at night and to deflect the Germans didn’t it for they’d think it was the Waddington area.
MC: Yeah.
WB: They said they would bomb the fields then instead of the camp. Yeah.
DR: Aye. They did.
MC: Yeah.
DR: That was another thing they did.
MC: So what about this fuel leak then you were telling me.
DR: Oh, that was, that was after that was. After the war.
MC: Oh was it?
DR: When the Vulcans was there.
MC: Oh right.
DR: But between that a Vulcan, one of them was trying to land at Waddington. Something wrong with it. Three or four of them. No. Three jumped out and one man’s parachute, and he dropped at Dunston Pillar and it killed him. Did you ever know that? Then the pilot got the Vulcan landed. But others, some of them jumped out but one didn’t and he dropped in at Dunston Pillar in my firm’s land.
MC: Yeah.
DR: He got killed.
MC: So what about the war time? I mean, you mentioned about this Lancaster. Were there any others?
DR: Oh scores of Spitfires crashing. Ever so many. At Scopwick village cemetery there’s seventy some odd burial graves there.
MC: And they were all —
DR: Memorial.
MC: And that’s all people killed.
DR: Yeah. All Canadians. All Digby was all Canadian Air Force.
MC: Yeah.
DR: And the bloody, the Germans used to keep bombing that every other night. Air raids that they used to bomb the airfields so the Spitfires couldn’t land. So what they did they took a hundred some acres of Parker’s land, made a dummy airfield so they could land there. Then they took all the WAAFs to Blankney Hall. Did you know that? Did you know? To do the plotting at Blankney hall because they bombed Digby no end of times and got so, you know a few got killed there.
MC: Yeah. So they moved them to Digby Hall.
DR: Yeah. To Blankney Hall.
MC: Blankney Hall.
DR: Then they got it set fire and burned down, about near the end of the war that was at Blankney. Blankney Hall. Aye.
MC: So what about you know you talked about the Lancaster and the Spitfires. Any any other incidents that you can remember?
DR: Aye. On Easter Monday when they bombed Digby they were shooting with bloody guns after this bloody German plane and they got it down. And they’re buried at Scopwick. These Germans.
MC: Oh right. Yeah.
DR: Aye. I can remember that. It was a long time ago though isn’t it? Just let me have a look at —
[recording paused]
DR: That you get from planes.
MC: When you were a boy you used to collect it.
DR: After the, after, in the war it was. You see we’d nothing else to do as I say. And another thing they had at, night at Scopwick there used to be a big beck if it’s still there and it was the blackout, wasn’t it? They used to come out of the pub. Kept on falling in the bloody beck. No idea. I can remember that.
WB: They’d obviously had one or two too many.
MC: So where did you go to pick this ammunition up? Did you go —
DR: Well, where the planes crashed.
MC: Oh right [unclear]
DR: They used to leave no end. They used to leave no end and there was another one crashed. I reckon there was some. I think it came from Metheringham. It crashed at Scopwick in, near Scopwick Railway Station and I reckon the graves were still there. That’s near when we, just before you get over to Scopwick Station to come to Timberland around the back there and one crashed there. A Lancaster. And I reckoned that was from Metheringham ones I reckon.
MC: Oh aye. Yes.
DR: Yeah. We was always going to go to that but we didn’t go because it was blazing like hell that. Because we were on our bikes. Do you know what I mean? [unclear] There was nowt else to do then but. And then with the bloody, if you were in the old fields, them days we used to be out with say bird, or nesting, and the bloody Germans would come over you at head height, in case they machine gunned you. Planes, up at Digby. They were trying to keep Digby down because it was a fighter station, wasn’t it?
MC: Yeah. Yeah. It was.
DR: And then when we worked at Temple Grange that’s there, we could see Digby. And I see thirty Flying Fortresses land in Digby. Aye. Because they couldn’t get down in Norfolk because of the dense fog. And they were there. Thirty. As I say some of them Yanks used to come to our pub. It’s all in this book. If you ever got that book it’s in there about it.
MC: Is that the, “Slightly Below the Glide Path.”
DR: Aye. It’s in there about —
MC: About Digby.
DR: Digby.
MC: Yeah.
DR: And the funerals. There’s a Memorial. I was brought up massive funerals there was at Scopwick. Military, you know. [pause] My grandad took that Scopwick pub in 1864. Them days. And he had a bit of a land holder there and they had the pub. That was his pub in them days. And they had a farmyard at the back of it. A lot of land. You know. Olden days wasn’t it? That’s what happened. Then we had three, he had three daughters. My mother and two more and they all married service people. The three of them. And my father, by 1926 he come up from Somerset and he was a fitter at Digby working on the double wingers. Engines. Aeroplanes. Just before the war. Not those double they had before the war. Scopwick Puff or something. Double wing planes used to be at Digby just before the war. That’s how my dad met my mother in Scopwick pub, you see.
MC: He came up from Somerset.
DR: Yeah. He lived at somerset. He would, he would be eighteen I think when he came up there. Somehow he got. I don’t know how he got there. He joined, working on the air, the old aeroplanes.
MC: Yeah.
DR: The olden days. That’s how he got to that area you see.
MC: It would be interesting to know what aeroplanes they were. You said —
DR: Scopwick Pup, wasn’t it?
MC: Oh, Sopwith Pup.
DR: Aye. That were them.
MC: That’s it. Yeah.
DR: That was at Digby. Just before the war. Aye.
MC: Goodness me. That was [pause] yeah. They were a popular aircraft in the First World War.
DR: Yeah. That would be 1927/26 because I was born ‘27 28 and he was, met my mother in the pub, you see. She was only eighteen. Seventeen. Eighteen. In them days that was a sin weren’t it [laughs]
[recording paused]
DR: Name. I forget his —
MC: No. No. It’s ok. You say there was another fighter pilot buried at Scopwick.
DR: One of them. And after the war they came and took his body up in the middle of the night. And then they come up with four bodies in a lorry and parked in my grandad’s yard, barn yard for the night. And they got, and his name and his photo’s in here in this flight book. I forget what they called him. They took him back to Belgium. His body.
MC: Oh right.
DR: And there’s a plaque at Scopwick where they dug him up from. Aye. That were after the war that was. And I know that.
WB: Because I suppose people would want their families home wouldn’t they? If at all possible. Yeah.
DR: Aye. Was full of Air Force.
MC: Yeah. So what were the nearest air bases to you then? So there was Digby.
DR: Digby. There was a bomber one was Metheringham.
MC: Metheringham.
DR: And then, then Waddington.
MC: Waddington. Then of course Digby.
DR: Then there was another one at Coleby Grange. That one. That was all interlinked with Digby.
MC: Yeah. So you were pretty well surrounded by them.
DR: Yeah. Every night around us bombers going off and off and off.
MC: Yeah. Did you used to watch them at night?
DR: Yeah. The noise. They used to pan around don’t they? To get up.
MC: Yeah. Yeah.
DR: Aye. But the Germans was all after Digby.
MC: Yeah.
DR: So they couldn’t, the fighters couldn’t get back down. And they did that [unclear] you know, the emergency landing strip.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Aye.
[recording paused]
MC: So you used Scopwick house for.
DR: Big house.
MC: Yeah.
DR: And the Air Force commandeered it and made it into a hospital for Digby Aerodrome.
MC: Did you ever get a chance to visit any of these places?
DR: Yeah. We used to go there every Monday night at Digby, Scopwick. You’d have a film show for all the patients in this big house. Aye. From Digby Air Force. Aye. That’s right.
MC: Yeah.
DR: That was another thing they did.
MC: So they allowed you in.
DR: Yeah. They —
MC: As the public as well as the —
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah. Yeah.
DR: Because I used to know them coming down the pub.
MC: Yeah. Of course you did.
DR: Said it was me.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Then after the war we had a gang of Germans in a big building there. Prisoners at Scopwick. No end of them.
MC: Did you meet any of them?
DR: Aye. One was a nasty sod and he was a Nazi. He had a tattoo on his arm. The other ones weren’t but there was one nasty one there. Yeah.
MC: You didn’t make friends with them then.
DR: No. They weren’t. We met them after the war. They were working on the land for Parker’s that I worked for then.
[recording paused]
DR: Aye.
MC: Entertainment.
DR: Yeah. George Formby’s wife. Beryl.
MC: Yeah.
DR: She came and she stayed at our pub for four days and she was entertaining the troops out at Waddington, at Digby and Metheringham.
MC: She was.
DR: Yeah. George. Beryl, they called her. George Formby’s wife. She worked for ENSA.
MC: Yeah. Yeah.
WB: Mensa.
WB: Oh, was it ENSA?
DR: Aye.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Aye.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Toured around in a big car she was in them days. Aye. Beryl.
MC: I never knew that.
DR: It’s true that is.
MC: Yeah. So you used to have bed and breakfast in your pub.
DR: Yeah. Well, we had, there was six bedrooms in our pub. And they knocked, knocked the lot, the end off after the war because they reckoned it was too dangerous with the narrow road going up to Sleaford. So you can see where the end piece was chopped off. The kitchens and all that bit. Aye. But I’ll tell you they put an extension on our pub after, in the war because there were that many customers.
MC: Yeah. Because it’s still there.
DR: Yeah. You go in there and you’d see. You go in the front door, turn left. There’s like a long bar. The tap we used, there used to be a tap room we called it in them days for the roughs, and the posh would be in the, then they built another L shape on the back. In the gardens.
MC: Did they have any memorabilia in there of the RAF at all?
DR: My mother and father was the last person I was in there. I don’t know whether — it’s changed hands four or five times since.
MC: Yeah.
DR: So, I don’t know now. And every, every Saturday night at Scopwick they used to packed in the village hall dance. All in a big dance in a wooden hut. Packed it was. Every Saturday. You used to have to shut down while about 11 o’clock them days, didn’t they? Not allowed on Sunday.
MC: No.
DR: No entertainment.
MC: That’s what it was like. Yeah. So it was packed with airmen was it?
DR: Airmen. WAAFs. I mean, I mean, and I was they used to come down on bikes from Digby. Leave their bloody bikes. No one cared did they? And my dad in his own car would take them back home to Digby. Some of them. That was about a mile wasn’t it to walk from Digby aerodrome down to Scopwick. That was the nearest pub from Digby aerodrome.
MC: So it must have been popular.
DR: It was. There were any more in them days. Then we got short of beer. It was rationed a bit.
MC: Was it?
DR: Yeah. In them days. Yeah. In the end.
MC: You must have been popular if you ran out of beer.
DR: True. That was true that was. Aye.
[recording paused]
DR: Put it on?
MC: Yeah. Do you want to —
DR: All the fighter pilots all had a revolver with them, flying. Did you know?
MC: Yeah.
DR: Because we were all given the bloody gun. That’s true that is [unclear] because I was on about guns and that. Flaffing about.
MC: You talked about rationing. So what was food like?
DR: We was alright because my grandad had a farm. We had pigs.
MC: I was going to ask.
DR: Chickens. And all the apple trees and pear trees up in the back gardens you see because my grandad had that farm. Part of it. So we weren’t, we were lucky.
MC: Yeah. So you had plenty to eat. Did you used to share it around?
DR: A little bit. Aye.
MC: Were you a big family then?
DR: No. No. I was the only one.
MC: Oh, were you?
DR: Yeah. And my, my mother’s sister she only had one. That’s all there was. There was only two of us. I’ve only got one more cousin. But there’s a few more down Somerset from my dad’s relatives down, but we don’t see them now.
MC: No.
DR: We’ve lost them.
MC: So you hid, you were given the gun were you?
DR: Aye.
MC: And you had to hide it.
DR: I chopped it up at our works and I chucked it in the bin.
MC: Oh, did you? Oh, you didn’t keep it.
DR: No.
MC: It was a bit dangerous wasn’t it?
DR: Yeah.
MC: Yeah.
WB: Yeah.
DR: What I did I had an air rifle. A 22 air rifle. I was training to be a lathe worker, tap work, and I turned a twenty two barrel round and pressed it on inside the roller and all the firing pins were a rim fire. For twenty two cartridges [makes noise] True that is.
MC: That’s the advantages of being an engineer.
DR: Yeah. Trained up lathe work. See.
MC: Yeah. Who was it your worked for?
DR: Blankney Estates. Parker’s.
MC: Oh right.
DR: Did you hear of them?
MC: Yeah. They had their own engineering workshop.
DR: Yeah. They did. We had forty thousand acres of land in the finish.
MC: Yeah.
DR: We started off with British Crop Driers. Then they split it. But it was too big for one workshop to do all the lot and we had a new workshop built at Blankney for the bottom half of [pause] Aye. They took the Londesborough Estate didn’t they? All that lot. Took everything. Even my grandad’s land. They came up from Norfolk just before the war from the Queen. He used to farm the Queen’s Estate at Sandringham.
MC: Oh right.
DR: And they all come up to this area of Lincolnshire. They took the lot. All the Lincolnshire Showground. All up there. North Carlton. That belonged to Parker’s.
[recording paused]
DR: The fighter pilots. There were no end of them and when they’d been out on a raid they used to come back over Scopwick. Oour pub. Zoom.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Around the back.
MC: So going up the Memorial Spire that reminds you. Reminded you of them.
DR: Yeah. But the Memorial at Scopwick is still missing, you know.
MC: Yeah.
DR: The big one.
MC: Yeah.
DR: All that lot in there. But the, but the military funerals used to come, every. How many were there? About seventy buried in Scopwick.
MC: Yeah. You said.
DR: Massive funerals there in the Air Force.
[recording paused]
MC: So what did the WAAFs do?
DR: I say, they used to come down and swim in Scopwick Beck. We was dam, the, where the farmer was at bottom end of Scopwick he used to bank the beck up so the water’s deep and they used to on a Sunday or a Saturday they used to be down there in the summer swimming in Scopwick Beck.
MC: So, this was the WAAFs.
DR: Yeah. Anybody could. No end. In the summer. That’s true. That’s another thing. It’s unbelievable. It used to be about six foot deep at least. They used to be jumping in and diving in. Scopwick Beck.
WB: Well, the water would be lovely then, wouldn’t it?
DR: Yeah. That was another thing that used to happen.
[recording paused]
DR: The first thing I drove was lease and lend after the war. But our firm had about five or six Yankee jeeps running about the farms. That was the first vehicle I drove across the fields. Left hand drive Yankee jeeps. Classed as a lease and lend. Lease and lend, wasn’t it?
MC: Yeah.
DR: Aye.
[recording paused]
MC: You had to, you left school and then you had to work then.
DR: If you didn’t go to Grammar School at fourteen you had to go to work. When you was, and if your birthday was in November but you had to go to school until Christmas. You couldn’t leave school on your [pause] you finished at the end.
MC: At the end of the term.
DR: End of the term. That’s it. And I worked, it was Parker’s in them days. They’d come up from Norfolk.
MC: How long was your apprenticeship?
DR: Seven years.
MC: Seven years.
DR: Seven years. We used to go down Monks Road once a week. The old place. It’s still there for the, we learned to lathe and weld, acetylene weld and all that in the war. Petrol was rationed.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Farmers used to get extra.
[recording paused]
MC: So you were saying they used to, going back to this shooting. They used to come and practice their shooting.
DR: Yeah. In Scopwick pit.
MC: Had they dug the pit?
DR: The big pit. Then they dug a big trench at the end where they sunk the boards up, and blokes used to be in this pit, in the pit in the back of the board marking the board where the bullets had gone. Practicing. And we were at the top of end of Scopwick watching them. Every Sunday they used to come down. Shooting at that pit. And that’s still to this day you can see where that other pit was dug. In Scopwick.
MC: So this was Army as well as Air Force.
DR: Yeah. And the Air Force. Practicing.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Aye. With rifles and machine guns. So that that was another thing they used to do at Scopwick. And that’s there to this day. You can say if they ever got in Scopwick pit where they dug the pit so the men could be under the bullet with the [makes noise] flying all over. That was another incident there you see.
MC: Come down. This is a flax factory.
DR: The flax factory on the Metheringham Heath Lane. Because the Germans used to try bombing that because at the end the, where that lane is was Coleby Grange.
MC: Oh yeah.
DR: Flying field there.
MC: So they’d probably been trying to bomb Coleby Grange.
DR: Yeah. Aye.
MC: And got the flax factory instead.
DR: Aye. Aye. They built, they built an air raid shelter right round the side of it. That was another lot of works in the war. An anti-aircraft gun on the road side there there was. Down Meg Heath Lane. You can see the stand was, where it was on defending the area.
MC: Were there a lot of anti-aircraft guns around that area?
DR: Yeah. Rowston Hill Top. Have you heard of that? And just past Digby area. Another anti-aircraft gun centre there. Parker’s land again. Near Rowston Hall that was.
MC: So you didn’t see any German aircraft brought down?
DR: Not brought, I see them shooting that one Easter morning when they bombed Digby and it killed, it killed some WAAFs as well that bomb. Aye. A few got killed and they were shooting. Then the guns stopped and the fighters come chasing them because they can’t shoot with the fighters after them. And the shrapnel was dropping because we were outside our pub watching. ‘They said come in. There’s shrapnel.’ From the shells bursting dropping down. There’s no end if you stop and think what happened. But the best bits is when the WAAFs would come out the pub and drop in the beck because it was black out [laughs] Oh, airmen did as well. Not only WAAFs.
MC: Yeah. Because it was dark.
DR: It was dark innit [laughs]
MC: Yeah.
DR: And it was deep in them days. Still there to this day the beck is. And that’s where they used to swim. Right at the bottom. Half a mile further down because it got deep because it only started at the top end of Scopwick that beck did. Out the ground. Come building up from where it started. And when my uncle come he was a warrant officer at Cranwell. When he used to come to the Scopwick pub he had to take his uniform off because everybody were saluting him. All [laughs] it was a right bloody game it was. He used to come because he married my mother’s sister you see.
WB: Was that Dorothy?
DR: Dorothy. Yeah. And he finished a wing commander at Halton at the end of war. Finished the post. Left after the war. He’s passed away now. He came —
MC: So, what did he do in the war?
DR: He was, trained pilots at Cranwell. Teaching people to fly.
MC: Oh he was a flying instructor.
DR: Aye. He was. That’s how I got born at Cranwell. In their hospital. Through my dad being in the forces. Fighters at Digby. A mechanic what he was.
MC: So your dad was in the forces then you say.
DR: He was at the beginning of the war. Yeah.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Then he come out after the war.
MC: Yeah.
DR: Took the pub over because my grandad sold that pub to a firm called Soames Brewery but he kept all the land and the farm. Then my dad went as landlord of the pub.
MC: Yeah.
DR: All through, all through the war. He’d seen my mother. That’s how it worked. And my grandad died on the day the war broke. Brought on 1939, weren’t it? Aye. So my granny really brought me up because the pub was full. We had two bar women every night in the pub.
MC: Busy in those days.
DR: Oh God. It was. It was unbelievable. Nowhere else for them to go. Some of the Yanks came from them Flying Fortresses used to come down to Scopwick. So there was thirty planes then. There was ten people in each plane. They had to get that lot mended because it was that dense fog. They couldn’t land in Norfolk. Because we could see it from Temple Grange. It was across from Digby. All them bloody planes that day, one day when I went to work. I was working up there in them days. All them. They had a job to get off again. Had to wait for the wind. Certain day, when they got them out the, and I tell you the fighters was landing on another piece what they’d emergency landed.
MC: So you, you stayed with Parker’s throughout.
DR: All my life.
MC: My goodness.
DR: Forty five, fifty years.
MC: Goodness me.
DR: I had a good job.
MC: I was going to ask you what you did after the war but that’s, it’s what you did after the war.
DR: That’s true that is. And I stayed on for four, for four years at, for six months a year keeping on while they trained me up you see. I’d keep going you see because they used to do peas for Bird’s Eye at Grimsby. And what they did them days they used to send a student out all day and night clocking all the lorries out every two hours. Because they had to have around about fresh peas every two hours. And they used to say if that that lorry aint got his load of peas up for to go to Grimsby he still had to go after the time. Because they’d tell you’d they’d been well two hours from the frozen and that was true that was but they used to clock you. This person used to clock the lorries out. You couldn’t stop on if you hadn’t been broke down. Make your load up. You had to be off. He did.
MC: Goodness me.
DR: And that lot, them lorries them days there was the only one allowed to drive off with the hours running because it was perishable goods. Peas weren’t they? You couldn’t stop when you’d done your hours. They were exempt that was. Perishable goods.
[recording paused]
DR: In Mannheim was Lanz. In the war they flattened Mannheim. The British did. You know. Bombing them. And after the war it rebuilt up and it went to John Deere. And that’s where all the John Deere’s come in this country come from. Mannheim. And they land at Langar. Have you heard of Langar? Near Nottingham. Aerodrome. And that’s their, that’s the dropping point. All stuff come to Langar. Then it’s distributed. What I’m getting at we were send to Langar twice a year to keep up with all the trends in John Deere’s, new coming in. They was training us there in the new technology of John Deere’s at Langar.
MC: So John Deere’s equipment used to come from Mannheim.
DR: Yeah. To England. That was the manufacturing factory there at Mannheim. It used to be Lanz. And it got, and if you wanted a tractor John Deeres got the Lanz symbol on. Are you on there? But the Americans they sell them. They have them in America. They get dropped off. But in England it all goes to Langar. All John Deere stuff. And our firm had an agency. Parker’s at Metheringham they were. Then it went to Louth. Louth Tractors. Have you ever heard of that? Well, that belonged to our firm, because you had to get out of the ranges to get another one up. Another one at Dyke. Have you ever heard of it? Near Bourne. Dyke. There’s an agent’s shop there as well. That was our lot.
MC: Well, thank you very much, Don. I’ve got a fair bit there. It’s nice. And thank you very much for taking the time to, to be interviewed.
WB: Yeah.



Mike Connock, “Interview with Donald Rainey,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 2, 2023,

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