Mr. Muchnaty and "Henry"

Oct 08, 2019
It must have been in the early seventies, I came home from work and picked up the local newspaper while Pat finished preparing supper. At this time I worked for my Dad; a tenant farmer in the UK. We farmed approx. 1,000 acres, I was employed as a working farm foreman and mechanic, we grew winter wheat, spring barley, oil seed rape, sugar beet and potatoes. Also strawberries and some brassicas. I found a Fordson Super Major tractor advertised in the paper, I made a phone call. After supper Pat and I headed off to look at the tractor.

After a test drive and the usual haggling a deal was struck. We wrote out a cheque and agreed to go back the next day and collect her, I would drive her home.

Just as we were about to leave, the owner, Mr Muchnaty stepped up to the side window of the Land Rover and we started to talk. His tale was amazing, after at least two hours his wife called him in for supper and we had to leave.

I asked him about his farm, an old English farm house with a very tidy yard, he said he started work in the UK when the war ended in 1950! I smiled, but the war ended in 45, I said. But our war ended in 1950 when we finally reached the French frontier and surrendered our rifles and machine guns, he replied. His tale was unbelievable - they were fighting the Russians, and others? on and off until they reached the border. He told me the name of a doctor who was in their group, he had written a book about their experiences, I eagerly wrote down the details, I am afraid to admit that I later lost this info.

Mr. Muchnaty finally finished up in the UK as a DP (Displaced Person), he elected to stay in the UK and then with some comrades they started digging in field drains with spades! Eventually after much hardship and hard work he was successful and purchased a small farm and started a contracting business but now installing field drains with machinery. His tales had Pat and I enthralled. For as long as I live I will never forget that man. He was an inspiration to me, I wished we had kept in touch.

Two days later I turned up at our farm with the "new" tractor, she was quickly christened "Henry" after Henry Ford. Dad was a keen International Tractor man but even he begrudgingly had to admit that "Henry" was useful.

I immigrated to Canada in 1982, Dad sold up a few years later. I was very pleased to hear that my brother, Adrian acquired Henry, since then Adrian has had her rebuilt and even professionally resprayed.

Two weeks ago I was back in the UK and used Henry to go fetch a trailer of wheat sheaves for a thrashing demo my brother was organizing. I was very proud driving Henry and it brought back old memories of the the tales of Mr. Muchnaty.

Adrian has a small collection of old Ford tractors and a Field Marshall but Henry holds a special place in our memories. The following photos are courtesy of Adrian. A copy of the original log book is interesting, all tractors had to be registered in the UK if used on a highway. Over the page from my name is Dad's name.

Keep your powder dry,
Mr. Wolverine

OCT-6
Original Log Book

OCT-2

OCT-3
The first restoration 20 years ago. Bonnet was rotted out from the irrigator and safety cab with square mudguards has been removed.

OCT-1
Henry at work!

OCT-5
Family visit from a long time ago.

OCT-4
Henry taking part in an event to raise money for Breast Cancer.

OCT-7
Ploughing the vineyard.



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