Ploughing with the War Ag: Sam Pennal and His Caterpillar D2
North Wales man’s contribution to a struggling England during World War II was ploughing with a Caterpillar D2 with the War Ag.
Sam was one of the men who drove machines that the U.S. sent to Britain during World War II. Sam is shown here on his Caterpillar D2, identical to the crawler he used during the war when he was ploughing the steep hillsides of North Wales for the War Agricultural Executive Committee.
The Man Who Ploughed Where No Plough Had Gone Before
In 2009, Sam was honored as a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to agriculture. The presentation was made by Sir Hugh Morgan Daniel, lord lieutenant of Gwynedd.
Sam bought this International Harvester BTD-6 with Bullgrader 30 years ago to use in road construction. It is still in working order today.
Sam's International crawler. After Sam left the War Ag he started his own business and began building a large collection of crawlers. Being one of the few people in the area with all-terrain machinery, he was kept busy for many years ploughing and improving steep, rough ground.
Sam's Allis was sent over from the U.S. as part of the World War II-era Lend-Lease Act. This particular crawler has been to the summit of Cadair Idris (elevation 2,930 feet), the second highest mountain in Wales, carrying fencing equipment.
When food shortages during World War II led to a need for more crop production, hillsides, mountainsides and scrubland were plowed up to transform grazing country to cropland.
Sam's 1941 Ransomes threshing machine. Memories of working as a threshing attendant in his youth gave Sam the desire to own such a machine.
This early Jones Cub stationary baler would have been current at the same time the Ransomes threshing machine was in common use.
Sam's International Harvester plough dating to the 1940s. It too was part of the Lend-Lease Act.
Sam is a member of the Meirionnydd Vintage Machinery Club. The club plants a field of wheat every year and Sam uses his vintage equipment to cut and thresh it. Sam is shown here with his Albion binder.
Sam is so fond of the Fordson tractors that were popular in his youth that he has aquired three almost identical examples.
A War Ag fuel trailer dating to the early 1940s. Whilst agricultural machinery was left overnight at the job site, this trailer was towed home and filled with fresh fuel, then towed back to the site each day.
Food was rationed in Britain during World War II and for some time afterward, and everyone was encouraged to grow as much of their own as possible, as shown in this vintage poster.