“I started work at the age of 15 in 1952. I worked on Upper Craigton Farm at Kinkardine O’Neil. I had to live in a timber bothy with the farmer and stayed there all week. Then I had Saturday afternoon and Sunday off when I went home. I had a bike and was able to cycle 14 miles home on a Wednesday night and also at weekends.
I started work at 7am when I had to take in the cow for the farmer’s mother to milk. We would then have porridge for breakfast then I would go back to work. One of my jobs was to work in the fields hoeing turnips, which took about 14 days. The mother looked after me very well. She would come out at 9am and give me a jam jar of milk and some bread. I’d continue hoeing until dinner time, and then went back to the farm and had home made soup, which sometimes had feathers in! Back to the hoeing then back to the farm for tea which was porridge and an egg. The eggs were boiled in the kettle and then the tea was made with the same water!
I worked there for 2 years and then left because the farmer would have had to pay more National Insurance as I was 18. He got rid of me and employed another boy, but I often went back because I liked the mother, and I looked after the tractor, maintaining it and driving it (I was 11 when I started to drive tractors)! I continued to do farm work until I was called up for National Service. I went into the Army for 3 years because the money was good. I went to Malaya for 2 and a half years and spent a lot of time in the jungle. I then came back to farm related work for the rest of my working life.”
William Robertson was interviewed in Elgin by Heather Heppenstall, WRVS volunteer