An interesting letter arrived at The SF office, from Patrick Cadzow of Suffolk, who thought our readers would enjoy reading a letter that their family grieve Jimmy Potter, sent his father, Major Shane Cadzow, in October 1940.

Jimmy was in charge of Kilpunt Farm, Broxburn, when Major Cadzow was in the Royal Scots, based in England at the time of writing during WW2. Unsurprisingly, apart from a mention of a heavy cold, all that really seemed to matter was reporting on the goings-on at the farm and where they had got to in the annual arable cycle.

While it seems from the informal writing that Jimmy was missing the Major on the farm, it seems that the Major was making himself indispensable while on the front line in France.

Jack Smith who wrote his war memoirs mentions Major Cadzow often, as he served under him. He was drafted into the 8th Battalion of the Royal Scots in 1944, and talks about serving on the front line and being in close quarters with Cadzow at Company HQ, but Jack knew little about the man himself.

All Jack could discover from talking to the lieutenant and the other men was that Cadzow had been a ‘gentleman farmer’ before the war and had a passion for rifles and boxing. He had in fact been educated at Cambridge and was a Lothian farmer.

For Jack, Major Cadzow was a truly inspirational and terrifying figure. No man had made such an impression in his life. He was genuinely awe-struck at his aggression and bravery under fire and firmly believes that without him a lot more men would have died or tried to desert. It was with great sadness then that he heard of his death in Broxburn, 1997. Major Cadzow received the MC for his determination and leadership during the battles that he was involved in.

For the full memoirs of Jack Smith who mentions Major Cadzow in this online blog, go to

Kilpunt Farm, Broxburn, 20/10/40

Dear Shane, you will be thinking that I have forgotten you altogether, but no fear of that. Well, in the first place I hope you are still in the pink ye ken, as I cannot say that for myself tonight as I have a heavy cold, had since Thursday last.

Although my throat is not so bad I can speak better. Well I must let you know that we have got the wheat all thrashed at East Mains, and all cleared away.

We had only one wet day that stopped us, and we had good stuff. I only wish you had been here to see it, and we have the field all ploughed, except the bit up the west-side.

You know we had it all stacked up the side of the pond, so we are ready to start sowing tomorrow and we have made a start to plough Peniel, so if we get good weather we won't be long in getting the wheat in.

Well I must tell you it's a few years since we had a harvest like this one for good weather, and a damned good job for us, for if it had been wet, heaven knows what like it would have been in yon field of corn at Eastmains for it was a rough job cutting it, but we got through it.

And there was a fine wind all the time, never had heavy dews in the morning to stop us, and then when we started the potatoes we never got a shower either.

Of course, it was Williamson, from Broxburn, who got them this year, so we have only the Doon-stars in pits at Kilpunt for they came and dressed all the Great Scots at Eastmains, so that there is only the seed left there.

We are not bad off in that line, so the next thing is to get the Mangolds lifted and the turnips; ye ken they are maybe no as thick on the ground as they should be, but what did come, damn it, I'm no the first tae tell a lie, it will maybe take two folks to lift them in the cart.

If the cart can hold them, we might have to take the tractor and bogie well, the turnips at Kilpunt are just a medium crop, we have started shawing some for the cattle here, of course the south-court are still out at the grass through the day and we have good fodder at Kilpunt this year.

Yon field of oats where the young grass was sown, just the best. We had a half day's thrashing of oats for to get the shaw, so we have some nice oats and running well (and here it's no Saturday nicht, ye're no to think I am blawing ma horn).

Shane, I see a notice in the papers the ither day, of course, ye ken yoursel, we're telt no to believe a that's in the papers but I think there's something about the bit I saw, that I believe, well all I can say it, the best of luck to you, it's a pity you are so far away, however we are always looking towards the bright side, and that there will be a night, well ye ken yerself there's only one nicht in oor time that ye ca' a night.

Well I hope we won't be long til we see you again. Shane we have had some airmen staying with us, we had two in the room and one was staying with our first man up at the house. You know they move about from place to place, twice they have been here and I expect they will be here some day next week. Well I think I will have to stop or you will be thinking that I am one of the biggest blethers ever to come out of yonder, but of course, I ken I was always that way when I start with a pen. I would rather haud the ploo' ony day than the pen. Oh yer laughing are ye?

Well, Shane, I will hav to close up now hoping this finds you in the best of health as it leaves us all here at present. I remain your servant.

J Potter