Sunday, 20 May 2018

Elstow Tractor Discovered in Palestine

Bedfordshire Regiment men with Saunderson tractor

Monday 20th May 1918: A group of Bedfordshire Regiment soldiers serving in Palestine found a surprising link with home in a village recently captured from the Turks. Corporals Fred Kendall of Wilstead and R. E. Shadrake of Bedford, Private Edward Doughty and some other Bedford boys, found a Model V Saunderson tractor on a farm in the village. Corporal Shadrake wrote to Mr. Saunderson and enclosed a photograph of the machine:

“A few weeks ago we took a village from the Turks, which was found to be a German Colony, called Wilhelma. One of the first things we saw was a ‘Saunderson’ Tractor made at Elstow Works. I thought it would interest you to know that a few Bedford boys have had memories of her native place brought before them by the sight of this tractor so many miles from home.”

It appears that Corporal Kendall had helped to make the machine, and the mark of Private Doughty’s father was on the spokes of the wheel. Private Doughty writes that the tractor, which was sent out to Palestine eighteen months before the War, was in fairly good order except that the cylinders had been removed.

Source: Bedfordshire Times, 24th May 1918

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