Alexander’s father worked in Sunker Mains and he got his son a job at Meft Farm, part of the Innes Estate near Urquhart in Moray (view location map). He started work at the age of 14 after asking for leave from the rector of Forres Academy. He was supposed to carry on his schooling by attending evening class but he couldn’t due to the demands of the farm work. He had one day off once a fortnight and no holidays. He worked on a six month contract, no sick pay and £12 for 6 months work. He was paid 10 shillings a month on which he paid no tax. He didn’t earn enough to pay any tax. But he did pay 2s. and 6d., which was a private sick benefit insurance should he be off work for any reason.
My six month contract started in the springtime. My jobs included hand ploughing, threshing, bailing and making haystacks. The hay was stored in the field or in farm buildings. During the war there was no hay storage at the farm due to bomb threats.
At the end of the summer the contract ended as there was no work in wintertime. I moved to a second farm at Califer Hill, Forres, where I worked until the following May. My third farm was Grange Hall farm near Forres
Before I started working on the farm I got an absess on my leg which needed to be fixed by a doctor. The doctor gave me a bill which had to be paid to cover his treatment including stitches.
Memory contributed by Alexander ‘Sandy’ Cruickshank at a Kinloss Coffee morning
Origin of the NHS (Official NHS site) including two archive films from 1947 and 1948.