The Effect on Farming

The Effect on Farming

In 1914 and throughout the Great War, there were many ramifications for British farmers, including those in the South of Scotland.

Farm horses were commandeered by the military authorities which meant there were consequences in terms of producing the harvest, and also the means by which to transport foodstuffs produced by the farms. Farmers' horses would be inspected and, if thought suitable, they were taken away for the purposes of War. This was a necessity in war time but in August 1914 it was not only farmers that lost their horses to the war.

The Berwickshire Advertiser reported, "Four superb specimens of horse flesh were taken from the Cowdenknowes stables of Colonel Hope, and three from Mr Robert Smart, The Red Lion Hotel, and one each from Messrs Ralph Dodds and Sons, Mr Robert Murdison, plumber, and George Stewart, dairyman, Haughhead. Horses belonging to farmers and others in the neighbourhood were also inspected, but none of them proved suitable for the service required of them."

The newspaper also highlighted the strain on farmers' abilities to transport livestock due to the overuse of the railway network for the war effort. Mr James Swan, responsible for the auction mart in Newtown St Boswells, reported a lamb sale would be cancelled for this very reason, and he commented., "Damn the Kaiser."

Berwickshire Advertiser. Courtesy of Tweeddale Press Group.
Berwickshire Advertiser. Courtesy of Tweeddale Press Group.