The brother of the founder of the Field Marshall Club shares the family story that inspired its creation.
The Marshall Club – once known as the Field Marshall Club – only exists today because of a very special tractor, bought by a mother for her two boys.
Brothers, Ross and Peter Anderson sadly lost their father Fred when Ross was 14 months old and Peter was still two months off being born. Their uncle Ted Pullen, who moved next door and played a prominent role in their lives growing up, later encouraged their interest in tractors and steam engines. On one fateful day when Ross was nine and Paul eight, he took them see a Field Marshall Series 2 that was for sale.
The boys were enraptured. “Mum (Jean Anderson) bought her for us for £35 and she came to us on November the 9th 1968,” remembers Ross. “We got her delivered on the train and then drove her the rest of the way home, and then stored her on the farm next door.”
“She was only 20 years old when we bought her, but we still rubbed her down all by hand with a wire brush, repaired a frayed decompression cable and a broken clutch cable. She was hand painted by my uncle Harry Pullen who was a coach painter. She’s still got that paint – you can’t even see the brush strokes.
“Mum encouraged us a lot, and we took the Field Marshall to rallies and shows all over the country. I was into it, but Peter became a real fountain of knowledge about it.”
Founding the club
Inspired by their Field Marshall, Peter and his friend Wally Hawkins, later founded the Field Marshall Club in 1988.
“We thought it would just get 50 members, but it grew to over 500,” says Ross. “So the most important thing about our tractor is that it led to the foundation of the club.”
Peter even befriended Henry Marshall himself, who became a great supporter of the club, says Ross.
As part of the club, Peter wrote a newsletter, but he really struggled with his writing and spelling, and so eventually went back to night school. He improved so much that he went on to write two books about Field Marshalls, says Ross.
“Peter was told he would never amount to anything, but this tractor changed everything,” says Ross. “Without her we could have become football hooligans or something, but instead we spent our time repairing and recycling with her.”
“She’s a very special tractor and she means a lot to us. I’ve had people come round and try to buy her, and one guy who even slammed down a blank cheque. I tore it up and said ‘you’ve not got enough money to buy this tractor’.”
‘Bub’ as she’s affectionately named now, after Ross’s nickname for Peter, who died five years ago, will hopefully be making an appearance at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show on 5-6 November.
“It’s the 75 year anniversary of the Field Marshall Series II, so I’m planning to rub her down and take her out,” says Ross. “It feels fitting that I’m there to represent Peter, too.”
75 years of the Field Marshall Series II
Fans of the Field Marshall Series II can celebrate the tractor in the Autumn at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show on 5-6 November at Newark Showground, along with celebrations to mark 70 years of the new Fordson Major E1A (produced 1952 – 1958), 75 years of the David Brown Cropmaster, and 50 years of Massey Ferguson 1200. For more information visit www.newarkvintagetractorshow.com
- Entries are open to exhibit tractors, machinery and commercial vehicles and close on 15 September.
- Advance tickets are now available for a discounted saving to the show. Advance tickets close on Friday 28 October. Thereafter gate prices apply.
- There is also the opportunity to book a weekend camping experience which includes three nights camping and two adult weekend tickets.
- To book tickets or enter the show competitions, visit www.newarkvintagetractorshow.com.
About the show
The Newark Vintage Tractor & Heritage Show is organised by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society and supported by the Nottinghamshire branch of the National Vintage Tractor and Engine Club (NVTEC). The Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society is a charity whose main objective it to promote and champion agriculture throughout Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands region.
Contact for further information
Events and Development Manager
Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society
Organiser of Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show
T: 01636 705 796 E: [email protected]